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Press Release

Cocaine Trafficker Sentenced to Over 17 Years in Federal Prison

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of Georgia

ATLANTA - Ricky Nuckles has been sentenced to 17 years, 7 months in federal prison for trafficking 22 kilograms of cocaine and for possessing a firearm in furtherance of that offense.  Nuckles was found guilty by a jury on May 13, 2015.

“One of our most solemn responsibilities is to protect the public from the blight of illegal narcotics,” said U.S. Attorney John Horn.  “Thanks to a vigilant off-duty DEA agent, 22 kilograms of cocaine is off the streets, and Nuckles' drug-trafficking days are finished.” 

“We have removed another cocaine trafficker off of the streets, thanks to the quick thinking and fine police work performed by one of our own Special Agents,” said Daniel R. Salter, the Special Agent in Charge of the DEA Atlanta Field Division.  “This criminal can no longer pose a danger to the community.”

According to U.S. Attorney Horn, the charges and other information presented in court: On the morning of December 23, 2013, Ricky Nuckles parked his car beside a pump at a gas station on Cheshire Bridge Road in Atlanta, Georgia, and entered the station’s convenience store.  As he entered, Nuckles placed a call on his cell phone.  Moments later, a second car entered the gas station and parked beside the defendant’s car.  The driver of the second car then carried a large suitcase over to Nuckles' car, placed it inside, and quickly returned to his car and drove away.  The defendant watched the delivery through the store’s window and remotely locked his car the moment the suitcase was placed inside. 

Unbeknownst to Nuckles, an off-duty DEA agent was also at the gas station that morning, and watched the delivery happen while waiting in line for an emissions inspection.  The agent confronted Nuckles as he attempted to return to his car and leave the station.  The agent identified himself, and after explaining what he saw, Nuckles fled back inside the convenience store and immediately discarded the cell phone he used to arrange the drug delivery. 

When Nuckles exited the store the second time, the agent was still waiting by Nuckles’ car.  After learning that the defendants had a loaded firearm next to his driver’s seat, the agent placed himself between Nuckles and the car and dialed 911.  Minutes later, additional DEA agents and uniformed Atlanta Police Department officers arrived at the gas station.  Nuckles consented to a search of the suitcase, inside which agents found 22 kilograms of cocaine with a wholesale value of approximately $750,000.  Agents also found an FN model 57 handgun and two 25-round extended magazines next to the driver’s seat of the car, within easy reach. 

Ricky Nuckles, 41, of Johns Creek, Georgia, has been sentenced by Senior U.S. District Court Judge Orinda D. Evans to 17 years, 7 months in prison to be followed by 5 years of supervised release. 

This case was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Cassandra Schansman and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Trevor C. Wilmot prosecuted the case.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Atlanta recommends parents and children learn about the dangers of drugs at the following web site:

For further information please contact the U.S. Attorney’s Public Affairs Office at or (404) 581-6016.  The Internet address for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia is

Updated August 21, 2015

Drug Trafficking