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Press Release

Trucker Sentenced to Prison for Hauling Cocaine

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Middle District of Alabama

       Montgomery, Alabama--On Thursday, June 22, 2017, Robert Francis Kelly (56), of Pennsylvania, was sentenced to 64 months in prison for possessing approximately 15 kilograms of cocaine with the intent to distribute, announced A. Clark Morris, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Alabama. In addition to the more than five-year prison sentence, Kelly will also be subject to five years of supervised release. There is no parole in the federal system.

       In August 2016, Kelly was driving a tractor-trailer truck on Interstate 85 when he was pulled over by an Alabama State Trooper in Montgomery County for having suspicious registration information. During the stop, he told the State Troopers that he was driving down from Delaware. Troopers confronted Kelly with contrary log records and Kelly admitted that he had lied to them. Kelly actually started his trip just a few miles from the Mexican border, and was headed to Atlanta, Georgia.

       The State Troopers then performed a search of the vehicle and found a suspicious section of the rear truck axle. They discovered that part of the drive shaft and rear differential had been completely removed from Kelly’s truck to create a compartment. When the Troopers looked inside this compartment, they found the cocaine. The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) estimates that the street value of 15 kilograms of cocaine is approximately a half-million dollars.

       “We took 15 kilograms of cocaine off the street; that is 15 kilograms of poison that will not reach our citizens,” stated Acting U.S. Attorney Morris. “These well-trained State Troopers are to be commended for their ability to locate and seize drugs that are hidden in sophisticated secret compartments. Because of their perseverance, the poison Kelly was hauling will not make it to our communities.”

       “This case is an example of the good that comes from law enforcement working together,” stated Bret Hamilton, DEA Assistant Special Agent in Charge. “Alabama State Troopers and DEA worked side-by-side to seize these drugs and put the drug dealers behind bars. Now, justice is served and our communities are safer.”

       “This case demonstrates how effective teamwork is to combating the distribution of illegal narcotics,” said Acting Secretary of the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency Hal Taylor. “Our Troopers are trained to recognize situations that go beyond the routine traffic stop, some of which lead to such successful prosecutions as this.”

       Acting U.S. Attorney Morris would like to thank the following entities for their assistance with this case: the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency’s (ALEA) Highway Patrol Division and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). This case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Bradley Bodiford.

Updated June 23, 2017