Meridian Man Sentenced to Over 27 Years in Prison for Conspiracy and Cocaine Trafficking
Defendant, a Fugitive for Over a Decade, Led Large Drug Operation Spanning Multiple States
Jackson, Miss. – Daniel Robert, age 43, of Meridian, Mississippi, was sentenced today by Chief U.S. District Judge Daniel P. Jordan, III to serve 330 months in federal prison, followed by 5 years of supervised release, for conspiracy and narcotics trafficking, announced U.S. Attorney Mike Hurst and Michelle A. Sutphin, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Robert was also ordered to pay a $1500 fine.
On January 23, 2020, after a three-day jury trial in U.S. District Court, Robert was found guilty of two counts of conspiracy to possess cocaine with intent to distribute, one count of possession of cocaine with intent to distribute and one count of attempted possession of cocaine with intent to distribute. Robert was originally indicted by a federal grand jury on September 3, 2009.
From 2007 through 2009, Robert was being investigated by the FBI along with several other individuals. The FBI’s investigation showed that Robert directed the sale of multiple kilograms of cocaine and took in tens of thousands of dollars. Robert organized the transport of cocaine from Houston, Texas, and sold the narcotics in Lauderdale County, Mississippi. Robert’s criminal organization involved numerous people and utilized vehicles with custom built hidden compartments for transportation of drugs and money.
An undercover operation specifically showed that Robert received $16,000 in exchange for over a kilogram of cocaine. Robert used two different individuals, who were both charged as co-conspirators, to receive money and distribute cocaine.
On June 26, 2009, Robert, along with another co-conspirator, were stopped in Vidor, Texas, driving a truck with a hidden compartment containing almost 8 kilograms of cocaine. Robert was released from custody in Vidor, Texas, and traveled back to Mississippi. With the help of his girlfriend, Robert attempted to reclaim his cocaine, which he believed had not been discovered in the hidden compartment.
Robert believed his girlfriend was arranging to purchase the truck from insurance adjusters who had taken possession of the truck on the basis that it was reported stolen. The insurance adjusters were actually undercover FBI agents with the consent of the insurance company that actually owned the truck. Video recordings and pictures were taken of Robert and his girlfriend when they came to the insurance “sale.” After “purchasing” the truck, Robert returned to Meridian, and proceeded to attempt to recover the cocaine he thought was still inside the hidden compartment.
FBI and SWAT officers descended on the location and arrested most of the organization, but Robert was able to elude capture by fleeing into a nearby field. Robert remained at large for a decade before he was taken into custody by the FBI.
Robert has an additional pending charge for witness tampering in the Federal District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi. Robert also faces charges in Illinois for narcotics distribution and witness tampering.
The OCDETF operation is a result of a joint investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Drug Enforcement Administration, with assistance from the United States Marshal’s Service.
The OCDETF program is a joint federal, state and local cooperative approach to combat drug trafficking and is the nation’s primary tool for disrupting and dismantling major drug trafficking organizations, targeting national and regional level drug trafficking organizations, and coordinating the necessary law enforcement entities and resources to disrupt or dismantle the targeted criminal organization and seize their assets.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Erin O. Chalk and Chet Kirkham.