News Release
November 8, 2007

New York Man Pleads Guilty To Trafficking Over 1400 Pounds Of Marijuana
– Street value $2.8 million

NOV 8 -- (Bowling Green, KY) - Leon Anthony Bell, age 42, of Bronx, New York, pled guilty on November 7, 2007, to possessing with the intent to distribute over 1400 pounds of marijuana, U.S. Attorney David L. Huber of the Western District of Kentucky announced today.

Bell admitted that on May 27, 2007, he was located in the passenger seat of a tractor trailer being operated by a co-defendant, Kermit Garriques, when a Kentucky Vehicle Enforcement (KVE) officer stopped the vehicle on Interstate 65 near Bowling Green, Kentucky for a safety inspection. During the routine stop, the officer noted a number of problems including lack of truck registration, a lack of required “driver’s rest” from the logs, the conduct of the driver, and the truck being several hundred miles off course. During the inspection, the officer located and seized approximately 1405 pounds of marijuana concealed in the trailer. A K-9 unit picked up the scent of the drugs which resulted in the seizure. The estimated street value of the marijuana is 2.8 million dollars.

U.S. Attorney Huber praised the Kentucky Vehicle Enforcement in “their continued police actions against illegal drug shipments. They are an essential local partner in the policing of a major north-south commercial artery.”

The maximum potential penalties are 40 years imprisonment, a $ 2,000,000 fine, and supervised release for a period of 5 years; and the minimum potential penalties are five years imprisonment, and supervised release for a period of 4 years.

Bell and Garriques were indicted on charges of possessing with the intent to distribute over 1400 pounds of marijuana in July 2007. The charges are still pending against Garriques.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Rob Bonar, and it was investigated by the Kentucky Vehicle Enforcement and the United States Drug Enforcement Administration.

The plea was entered before the Honorable Thomas B. Russell, Judge, United States District Court, Bowling Green, Kentucky.

Bell is scheduled to be sentenced before Judge Russell on February 5, 2008, at 11:30 a.m., in Bowling Green, Kentucky.