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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of Florida

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Miami-Dade County Resident Sentenced to Twenty-Five Years in Prison for Cocaine Trafficking

Eugene Hilton Russell, 51, of Miami-Dade County, was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge to Jose E. Martinez to 300 months in prison for trafficking in cocaine.

Ariana Fajardo Orshan, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Mark Selby, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (ICE-HSI), Miami Field Office, Diane J. Sabatino, Director, Field Operations, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Miami Field Office, U.S. Coast Guard (USCG), 7th District, and Adolphus P. Wright, Special Agent in Charge, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Miami Field Office made the announcement.

On November 28, 2018, Russell was convicted by a trial jury of importation, and possession with the intent to distribute, five kilograms or more of cocaine (Case No. 18-20518-CR).  The sentence imposed for the cocaine trafficking offenses of conviction will run consecutively to a 37-month term of imprisonment imposed by U.S. District Judge Patricia A. Seitz for the defendant’s violation of supervised release (Case No. 07-20338-CR).  

The evidence presented at trial showed that, on the morning of June 2, 2018, Russell travelled from Miami to Bahamian waters, just off the coast of Bimini.  There he met up with another boat for refueling.  When he left the area, the defendant had a cooler in the back of the boat.  Inside the cooler, there were a load of fish, some bottled water, and some Gatorade.  There was one fishing pole on the boat, but it was unrigged and had no hook.  All that was designed to cover up the 12 bricks of cocaine hidden in the walls of the cooler.

When Russell’s boat entered U.S. territorial waters, CBP attempted an interception.  As the CBP marine boats approached, the defendant abruptly changed course and sped away.  The CBP boats gave chase. They soon caught up with Russell and were able to stop his boat. Upon  inspection of Russell’s boat, CBP agents discovered the concealed cocaine (with an approximate street value of over $300,000 U.S. dollars). 

U.S. Attorney Fajardo Orshan commended the investigatory efforts of the ICE-HSI, CBP, USCG, and DEA in this matter.  She thanked the Miami-Dade Police Department for their assistance.  This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Arimentha Walkins and Brooke Watson.

Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at www.flsd.uscourts.gov or at http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov.

Updated January 29, 2019