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Tampa man convicted of accepting delivery on 323 pounds of pot

TAMPA — A sure sign of trouble for anyone awaiting the delivery of 323-pounds of marijuana to their home might be a call from a shipping company saying the package is too big to deliver.

But Arianne Rodriguez, 28, of Tampa doesn't appear to have been bothered by the call in December 2011, court records show. So he left his Casey Road home with a second man, Yoan Valdes Castro, and drove out to the private shipping company, court records show.

Rodriguez' companion signed for the bulky crate, which was shipped from Texas. And then the two men took it back home and unpacked it, prosecutors said. Court records do not reflect whether either man noticed the electronic devices that sent out signals when the crate and its contents were opened.

They certainly noticed when law enforcement officers burst in on them.

On Wednesday, a federal jury in Tampa found Rodriguez guilty of conspiracy to possess marijuana with the intent to distribute it and a second charge of possession with intent to distribute. He faces up to 45 years in prison when he is sentenced on Sept. 25.

Castro, who was also charged, was released on bail after his arrest and is now a fugitive.