Former Local Military Members Sentenced in International Cocaine Importation Conspiracy
PENSACOLA, FLORIDA – Daniel J. Gould, 36, of Crestview, and Henry W. Royer, 36, of Fayetteville, North Carolina, were each sentenced to 9 years in federal prison today for two drug trafficking conspiracy counts involving large amounts of cocaine. The sentences were announced by Lawrence Keefe, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Florida.
Gould pleaded guilty to the federal indictment in December 2018, and Royer pleaded guilty in February 2019. A third co-defendant, Gustavo A. Pareja, 25, of Colombia, is awaiting extradition to the United States to stand trial in Pensacola.
Between January and August 2018 in the Northern District of Florida, and in the country of Colombia, former Master Sergeant Daniel Gould of the United States Army and Henry Royer, formerly of the United States Army and Army National Guard, conspired to distribute large amounts of cocaine, knowing it would be unlawfully imported into the United States.
In August 2018, the United States Drug Enforcement Administration received information that Gould had attempted to import 40 kilograms of cocaine onto a military transport flight in Colombia with a final destination in the Northern District of Florida. Suspicion was aroused at the United States Embassy in Colombia when packages were x-rayed, revealing cocaine within gutted out punching bags. On August 13, 2018, when the cocaine was seized at the embassy, Gould had already returned home and was awaiting its arrival.
The conspiracy began in early 2018 when Gould and Royer initially imported 10 kilograms of cocaine into the United States. Royer traveled to Colombia with U.S. currency to use as payment. Gould placed the cocaine in a gutted punching bag and had the package transported to Bogota to be placed on a United States military aircraft. A few days later, the cocaine-filled punching bag arrived at Duke Field, which is an auxiliary airfield of Eglin Air Force Base. Gould and Royer distributed the 10 kilograms of cocaine in Northwest Florida.
Gould and Royer then reinvested the money from the first load of cocaine into a second load of 40 kilograms of cocaine. Gould placed approximately $65,000 in cash on a United States military cargo aircraft destined for Colombia as funds for the next purchase.
In early August 2018, Gould and Royer returned to Colombia and provided money for the 40 kilograms to their source of cocaine supply. Gould and Royer received the cocaine, loaded the 40 kilograms into two gutted punching bags, and coordinated transport to the embassy before flying back to the United States. The estimated value of 40 kilograms of cocaine in the Northern District of Florida would be in excess of $1 million.
This case resulted from an investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Gulf Coast High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) program. Senior Litigation Counsel David L. Goldberg is prosecuting the case.
The United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Florida is one of 94 offices that serve as the nation’s principal litigators under the direction of the Attorney General. To access public court documents online, please visit the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida website. For more information about the United States Attorney’s Office, Northern District of Florida, visit http://www.justice.gov/usao/fln/index.html.