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U.S. Rep. Cunningham's Son Charged With Drug Trafficking


February 1997

On January 17, DEA agents arrested Todd Cunningham, son of U.S. Representative Randy "Duke" Cunningham (R-San Diego), for allegedly flying more than 400 pounds of marijuana into Lawrence Municipal Airport in North Andover, Massachusetts ("Lawmaker's Son Charged," Washington Post, January 26, 1997, p. A10; Marc Lacey, "Congressman's Son Charged With Trafficking," Los Angeles Times (Washington Edition), January 27, 1997, p. B3).

Authorities said they received a tip that a marijuana shipment was arriving at the small airport north of Boston. After witnessing bricks of marijuana being unloaded from a twin-engine plane into a van, agents stopped the vehicle on Interstate 495 and arrested Cunningham, 27, and two other suspects, Christopher M. Guivas, 21, and Mark S. Ingalls, 23. Cunningham pleaded not guilty to marijuana trafficking and conspiracy to violate drug laws and was released on January 22 after posting $25,000 cash bail.

The suspect's father, Rep. Randy Cunningham, is a decorated Vietnam War combat pilot and a former Navy flight instructor. The four-term congressman said he did not learn of his son's arrest until January 24 when informed by a reporter. Rep. Cunningham has taken a strong stand against drug trafficking, including criticizing President Clinton for his "cavalier attitude" toward the issue. In a newspaper commentary last year, Cunningham said, "Those who would peddle destruction on our children must pay dearly." Responding to his son's arrest, Cunningham said, "If the charges are true, we are disappointed, and he must face his responsibilities."