LA man will plead guilty to smuggling cocaine to Australia


LOS ANGELES (AP) — A Los Angeles man has agreed to plead guilty to smuggling nearly 90 pounds of cocaine to Australia by concealing it in items such as water heaters, air conditioners and lampstands.

Prosecutors announced Friday that Vardges Markosyan of North Hollywood has agreed to enter pleas to conspiracy to distribute cocaine and launder money.

Authorities say Markosyan's plea agreement acknowledges that from 2014 to 2016 he shipped about 40 kilograms of cocaine overseas by suspending it in grease and placing it inside household products, including log splitters and air compressors.

Markosyan also acknowledges that he and his sister conspired to launder the drug proceeds by buying properties in North Hollywood and Studio City and using them obtain loans.

His sister, Iren Markosyan, pleaded guilty in May to conspiracy.