Meth-mailer gets 8 years

Cherokee County Herald - - NEWS -

BIRM­ING­HAM — A fed­eral judge sen­tenced a Col­bert County man to more than eight years in prison for drug distri­bu­tion that in­cluded an at­tempt to ship metham­phetamine from Los An­ge­les to the Col­bert County town of Leighton us­ing the U.S. Mail, an­nounced Act­ing U.S. At­tor­ney Robert O. Posey and U.S. Postal In­spec­tion Ser­vice In­spec­tor in Charge Adrian Gon­za­lez.

U.S. District Court Judge Ab­dul K. Kal­lon sen­tenced Ven­nis Mi­nosa Oates Jr., 33, of Leighton, to eight years and four months in prison, fol­lowed by three years of su­per­vised re­lease. Oates is al­ready in cus­tody. Oates pleaded guilty in Jan­uary to one count of con­spir­acy to dis­trib­ute and pos­ses­sion with in­tent to dis­trib­ute metham­phetamine, and one count of at­tempted pos­ses­sion with in­tent to dis­trib­ute metham­phetamine.

A sec­ond Col­bert County man, Kee­lan Shuntez Robin­son, 23, of Mus­cle Shoals, pleaded guilty in Oc­to­ber to con­spir­acy to pos­sess with in­tent to dis­trib­ute metham­phetamine and pos­ses­sion with in­tent to dis­trib­ute metham­phetamine. Judge Kal­lon sen­tenced Robin­son in Jan­uary to 1½ years in prison.

Oates and Robin­son both were ar­rested in Leighton in Jan­uary 2016 af­ter they ar­rived at the U.S. post of­fice there to pick up a sus­pi­cious pack­age. Oates drove Robin­son to the post of­fice and waited in the car while Robin­son went in­side to get the pack­age, ac­cord­ing to Oates’ plea.

U.S. postal in­spec­tors and mem­bers of the Col­bert County Drug Task Force and the Alabama Law En­force­ment Agency were mon­i­tor­ing re­trieval of the pack­age af­ter a res­i­dent at the ad­dress listed on the par­cel ini­tially re­fused its de­liv­ery. The res­i­dent said no one named Jeff Hawkins, the pack­age’s listed re­cip­i­ent, lived at the Marthaler Lane ad­dress.

Af­ter the re­fused de­liv­ery, a postal in­spec­tor de­ter­mined that nei­ther the sender’s name nor the re­cip­i­ent’s name could be as­so­ci­ated with ei­ther the Cal­i­for­nia ship­ping ad­dress or the Leighton de­liv­ery ad­dress, and some­one iden­ti­fy­ing him­self as “Jeremy” be­gan call­ing the Leighton Post Of­fice in­quir­ing about pick­ing up the pack­age, ac­cord­ing to Oates’ plea.

Fol­low­ing Oates’ and Robin­son’s ar­rests, po­lice ob­tained a search war­rant to open the pack­age. It con­tained about a pound of metham­phetamine and about two pounds of mar­i­juana. Postal in­spec­tors sub­se­quently an­a­lyzed in­bound and out­bound pack­ages with des­ti­na­tion ad­dresses sim­i­lar to the Leighton metham­phetamine pack­age and iden­ti­fied 14 in­bound and two out­bound pack­ages, ac­cord­ing to court doc­u­ments. Oates pack­aged large amounts of cash and shipped it to Cal­i­for­nia to pay for the il­le­gal drugs, ac­cord­ing to his plea.

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