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Grand Jury Charges St. Louis Man with Possession with Intent to Distribute More Than 5 Kilos of Cocaine

October 19, 2010

Peoria, Ill. – A federal grand jury today returned a one-count indictment charging a St. Louis, Missouri man, Larry Bentley, Jr., 39, with possession of more than five kilograms of cocaine with intent to distribute. The indictment alleges that Bentley possessed the cocaine on or about Oct. 14, 2010.

The charge is the result of an investigation by the Bloomington Police Department with assistance from the Drug Enforcement Administration. Assistant U.S. Attorney Greggory R. Walters is prosecuting the case.

Bentley was previously arrested and charged by criminal complaint on Oct. 14, 2010. Bentley made his initial appearance in federal court on Oct. 14 before U.S. Magistrate Judge John A. Gorman. A detention hearing is scheduled on Oct. 20 before Judge Gorman.

According to the affidavit filed in support of the criminal complaint, during the early morning hours of Oct. 14, an officer with the Bloomington Police Department stopped the vehicle driven by Bentley for a traffic violation on an Interstate highway outside of Bloomington. During the stop, the affidavit alleges the officer observed the car’s spare tire in the back seat and the police department’s canine alerted to the presence of narcotics. During a subsequent search of the vehicle at the police department, officers located a trap compartment where the spare tire would normally be located. Officers recovered approximately 15 packages of alleged cocaine, weighing more than 16 kilograms, from the trap compartment.

Members of the public are reminded that an indictment is merely an accusation; the defendant is presumed innocent unless proven guilty.

If convicted, the statutory penalty for possession with intent to distribute cocaine is a mandatory minimum 10 years to life in prison. If the defendant has a prior drug felony conviction, the mandatory minimum penalty is 20 years to life in prison.

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