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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Middle District of Alabama

Friday, September 30, 2016

State Troopers Seize Over a Million Dollars’ Worth of Cocaine in Three Separate Traffic Stops

Montgomery, Alabama – Alabama State Troopers made three recent traffic stops that resulted in the arrest of five individuals and the removal of approximately 40 kilos (88 lbs.) of cocaine off the streets, announced George L. Beck, Jr., United States Attorney for the Middle District of Alabama. The amount of seized cocaine has an estimated street value of $1.3 million.

As of today, all five have been indicted and arraigned in federal court for possessing cocaine with the intent to distribute, or for conspiring to do the same.

According to court documents, on August 22, 2016, Robert Francis Kelly (55), from Pennsylvania, was arrested while traveling through Montgomery County from South Texas in a tractor trailer truck. Kelly was heading towards Georgia when he was pulled over by an Alabama State Trooper. Upon searching Kelly’s truck, Troopers found approximately 15 kilograms of cocaine hidden in a mechanical compartment of the truck.

In a separate incident just two days later, three others were arrested in Opelika, Alabama. Leopoldo Ramos, Jr. (29), from Texas, Octavio Garza Maldanado (40), from Texas, and Jennifer Lynn Everett (30), from Virginia, were traveling in two separate vehicles when they were stopped by Alabama State Troopers. The State Troopers were able to determine that the lead vehicle had recently passed through a Texas border crossing checkpoint and was heading Eastbound towards Georgia. After pulling the vehicles over and searching them, Troopers found approximately 10 kilos of cocaine in a hidden compartment in the lead vehicle’s interior.

In the third event, Nathan Harlan McDermott (41), from Tennessee, was arrested on September 16, 2016 after he was stopped near Hope Hull, Alabama and admitted to traveling from South Texas (near the Mexican Border) to make a cocaine delivery to the Atlanta area. Upon searching McDermott’s tractor trailer, Troopers found approximately 15 kilograms of cocaine hidden in the trailer among the cargo.

At this time, law enforcement does not believe any of the three cases are related. If convicted, each of the individuals charged face prison time ranging from 10 years to life, as well as significant fines and restitution.

An indictment is merely a method of charging an individual with a crime and each defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty at trial.

These cases are being investigated by the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency’s (ALEA) Highway Patrol Division, the Alabama State Bureau of Investigation (SBI), and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). They are being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Bradley Bodiford and Curtis Ivy.

Drug Trafficking
Updated September 30, 2016