(WTVM) – Alabama State Troopers conducted three recent traffic stops that resulted in the arrest of five individuals and the removal of approximately 40 kilos (88 pounds) of cocaine off the streets.
The amount of seized cocaine has an estimated street value of $1.3. million. As of Friday, Sept. 30, all five have been indicted and arraigned in federal court for possession cocaine with the intent to distribute, or for conspiring to do the same.
According to court documents, on Aug. 22, 2016, 55-year-old Robert Francis Kelly, from Pennsylvania, was arrested while traveling through Montgomery County from South Texas in a tractor trailer truck. Kelly was heading towards Georgia when he was pulled over by an Alabama State Trooper. Upon searching Kelly's truck, troopers found approximately 15 kilograms of cocaine hidden in a mechanical compartment of the truck.
In a separate incident just two days later, three others were arrested in Opelika, AL. Leopoldo Ramos, Jr., 29, from Texas, 40-year-old Octavio Garza Maldanado from Texas, and 30-year-old Jennifer Lynn Everett from Virginia were traveling in two separate vehicles when they were stopped by Alabama State Troopers.
The State Troopers were able to determine that the lead vehicle had recently passed through a Texas border crossing checkpoint and was heading Eastbound towards Georgia.
After pulling the vehicles over and searching them, troopers found approximately 10 kilos of cocaine in a hidden compartment in the lead vehicle's interior.
In the third event, Nathan Harlan McDermott, 41, from Tennessee, was arrested on Sept. 16, 2016, after he was stopped near Hope Hull, AL and admitted to traveling from South Texas (near the Mexican Border) to make a cocaine delivery to the Atlanta area.
Upon searching McDermott's tractor-trailer, troopers found approximately 15 kilograms of cocaine hidden in the trailer among the cargo.
At this time, law enforcement does not believe any of the three cases are related. If convicted, each of the individuals charged faces prison time ranging from 10 years to life, as well as significant fines and restitution.
These cases are being investigated by the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency's (ALEA) Highway Patrol Division, the Alabama State Bureau of Investigation (SBI), and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). They are being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Bradley Bodiford and Curtis Ivy.