A Pennsylvania tractor-trailer driver was sentenced to 64 months in federal prison for hauling $500,000 in cocaine through Alabama.
Robert Francis Kelly, 56, was sentenced to prison for possessing approximately 15 kilograms of cocaine with the intent to distribute, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Alabama.
Following his prison sentence, Kelly will be required to serve five years of supervised release.
In August 2016, Kelly was driving a tractor-trailer truck on Interstate 85 when he was pulled over by an Alabama state trooper in Montgomery County for having suspicious registration information, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Kelly reportedly told state troopers he was driving from Delaware though log records indicated otherwise. Kelly actually started his trip just a few miles from the Mexican border and was headed to Atlanta.
State troopers performed a search of the vehicle and found a suspicious section of the rear truck axle. They discovered that part of the drive shaft and rear differential had been completely removed from Kelly’s truck to create a compartment.
Inside the compartment, troopers found a large amount of cocaine.
The Drug Enforcement Administration estimates the street value of 15 kilograms of cocaine as $500,000.
“We took 15 kilograms of cocaine off the street; that is 15 kilograms of poison that will not reach our citizens,” Acting U.S. Attorney Clark Morris said in a statement. “These well-trained State Troopers are to be commended for their ability to locate and seize drugs that are hidden in sophisticated secret compartments. Because of their perseverance, the poison Kelly was hauling will not make it to our communities.”