An American who says he was duped into carrying cocaine into Spain was convicted of drug trafficking Tuesday and sentenced to six years and a day in prison, a spokesman for the U.S. Consulate in Barcelona said.
Conan Owen, 23, of Annandale, Va., was found guilty by the three-judge tribunal that heard his case in a one-day trial March 26, more than a year after his arrest.In addition to the prison term, Owen was fined $18,000, consulate spokesman Peter Cecere said.
Cecere said the three-judge panel headed by Judge Jose Presencia Rubio acquitted Owen on charges of possessing contraband.
In Washington, Justice Department spokesman Terry Eastland said Attorney General Edwin Meese III "regrets very much this action by the Spanish court."
"I think it's important to stress that we continue to believe today, as we have before, in Mr. Owen's innocence and we continue to hope that he will ultimately be exonerated," Eastland said.
Owen was arrested March 13, 1987 at Barcelona's El Prat Airport after customs agents found 4.13 pounds of cocaine in a false-bottomed suitcase he had checked through on a KLM Royal Dutch Airlines flight from Santiago, Chile via Amsterdam.
He has been detained at Barcelona's Modelo Prison since his arrest.