August 22, 2004 LAWFUEL – Best of the Net for legal news, law news, law articles Marcos Daniel Jiménez, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida; Thomas W. Raffanello, Special Agent in Charge, Drug Enforcement Administration; Amos Rojas, Special Agent in Charge, Florida Department of Law Enforcement; and Julie Torres, Special Agent in Charge, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (“ATF”), announced today that United States District Judge Paul C. Huck sentenced defendant, Gregory Leroy James, to a term of life in prison for conspiracy to traffic cocaine, in violation of Title 21, United States Code, Section 846, and five (5) additional years for carrying a firearm during a drug trafficking crime, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 924(c)(1)(A).
On March 24, 2004, after a three day trial, a jury convicted James of all three (3) counts charged against him in the Indictment. Specifically, the Indictment charged James and co-defendant, Kenneth H. Head, with conspiring to possess with intent to distribute five (5) kilograms or more of cocaine, in violation of Title 21, United States Code, Section 846; carrying a firearm during a drug trafficking crime, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 924(c)(1)(A); and possession of a firearm and ammunition after having been convicted of a felony, in violation of Tile 18, United States Code, Section 922(g)(1).
Prior to the March trial, Head, James’s primary drug courier, pleaded guilty to the count of conspiring to possess with intent to distribute cocaine, in violation of Title 21, United States Code Section, 846, and was sentenced to a term of two hundred sixty-two (262) months’ imprisonment. Head was arrested with James on September 5, 2003, when they went to meet their cocaine supplier in the parking lot of Shorty’s B-B-Q in Miami. At the time of arrest, James had a loaded 9 mm semi-automatic pistol in his possession and $130,000 in cash wrapped in rubber bands inside a small backpack.
At trial, the government showed that James had been distributing over 200 kilograms of cocaine in Miami during September of 2003. The government’s evidence also showed that James had been distributing approximately one hundred (100) kilograms of cocaine per week in Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, and North Carolina during a five (5) year period. James began his cocaine trafficking enterprise in his home town of Key West, Florida. For the past five (5) years, however, James ran his trafficking operation from his home in Miami.
In a separate prosecution, defendant, Steve Martin, one of James’s local Key West cocaine and heroin distributors, entered a guilty plea to the charge of providing false information in an ATF Form 4473 for a firearm that he purchased, not for himself as he had represented in the ATF Form, but for James. At James’ March trial, Martin testified that he distributed cocaine and heroin for James out of Key West.
Mr. Jiménez commended the investigative efforts of the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, and the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Kirk Ogrosky.
A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida at www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls