News Release
December 19, 2007

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

DEC 19 -- Bowling Green, KY - Kermit Aber Garriques, age 49, of 317 Powell Avenue, Newburgh, New York , pled guilty 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.

Garriques admitted that on May 27, 2007, he was the driver of a tractor trailer, 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, Garriques’ suspicious behavior which included tossing the keys to the trailer on the roof of the vehicle, 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.

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. As part of the plea agreement, Garriques will forfeit his ownership of the tractor trailer used to transport the marijuana.

Garriques, along with a co-defendant, Leon Anthony Bell, was indicted on charges of possessing with the intent to distribute over 1400 pounds of marijuana in July 2007. Bell entered a guilty plea to the charge on November 7, 2007, and is scheduled to be sentenced on February 5, 2008, at 11:30 a.m. in Bowling Green, Kentucky.

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 Robert Goebel, Magistrate Judge, United States District Court, Bowling Green, Kentucky.

Garriques is scheduled to be sentenced before the Honorable Thomas Russell, Judge, United States District Court, on March 31, 2008, at 12:00 p.m., in Bowling Green, Kentucky.