Truck driver pleads guilty to cocaine possession, intent to distribute charges

Trucking news and briefs for Tuesday, April 30, 2024:

Driver faces 10 to life for cocaine possession, intent to distribute

A Dallas-based truck driver pleaded guilty on April 26 in federal court in Worcester, Massachusetts, for his role in what prosecutors call a “nationwide large-scale cocaine trafficking conspiracy.”

According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Massachusetts, truck driver Javier Robledo Perez, 39, pleaded guilty to conspiracy, distribution, and possession charges related to large quantities (more than five kilograms) of cocaine. His sentencing hearing is scheduled for July 19.

Perez was a truck driver based in Dallas who moved around 30 kilos of cocaine across state lines on behalf of a drug trafficking organization based in Mexico and Texas, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said. In May 2020, Perez and his co-conspirators arranged for the delivery of the 30 kilos of cocaine to a cooperating witness in Massachusetts. Perez was stopped by law enforcement as he traveled into the state in his commercial truck; 30 vacuum-sealed bricks were seized after search of the truck.

His two central charges:

  • Conspiracy to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute
  • Possession with intent to distribute

Both carry a minimum mandatory sentence of 10 years and up to life in prison, at least five years of supervised release and a fine of up to $10 million. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based on U.S. sentencing guidelines and other statutory factors.

[Related: Driver arrested with approximately 30 kilograms of cocaine in truck]

FMCSA opens registration for meeting on registration system

Registration is now open for the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s stakeholder event regarding upcoming changes to the agency’s motor carrier/broker/forwarder registration system. Updates come in response to widespread industry complaints about double brokering and other fraud, and acknowledgment by the agency that it has a seriously bad "bad actor" problem among registered entities

The agency announced in March that it would host a virtual “Registration Modernization Stakeholder Day” on May 29 from 1-3 p.m. Eastern.

In a Federal Register notice to be published Wednesday, May 1, the agency said the upcoming meeting “is intended for current and potential users of a new online registration system,” including but not limited to:

  • Motor carriers
  • Brokers and freight forwarders
  • Insurance companies/financial institutions and process agents/blanket companies
  • Third party service providers
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The full meeting agenda is not yet available but will be published on the registration site in advance of the meeting. Those interested in attending the virtual meeting can register here.

[Related: FMCSA moves on registration-system update]

Delaware cracking down on unsafe driving around trucks

The Delaware Office of Highway Safety (OHS) is teaming up with state and local police agencies to conduct a new high-visibility enforcement effort focused on the traffic safety of motorists around commercial motor vehicles.

The agency is holding two enforcement periods this year -- one ongoing now through May 11, and another from June 15-29.

The objective for this year is to run two enforcement periods and to spread awareness and education on social media for motorists when driving around commercial motor vehicles, OHS said. In 2023, more than half of the fatal crashes involving commercial motor vehicles in the state recorded that the operator of the commercial motor vehicle was not cited.

[Related: Holiday highway PSAs fit for our four-wheeled friends]

“Driving around vehicles that are much larger than your own can be intimidating. Being aware of the differences between regular vehicles and commercial motor vehicles can help us all make informed decisions out on the road,” said Sharon Bryson, Director, Delaware OHS. â€śIt’s not just the responsibility of the driver of the commercial motor vehicle, it is everyone’s responsibility to use our roadways safely. We all have to share the road, and we all have the same goal, to arrive alive.”

Among tips Delaware OHS is offering to motorists driving around CMVs are:

  • Leave a following distance of at least 200 feet.
  • If you can’t see their side mirrors, they can’t see you.
  • Don’t hang out in “no zones.” Try to steadily pass and avoid staying in blind spots for too long.
  • Make sure you can see the whole truck in your rearview mirror before changing lanes.
  • Allow enough space for the vehicle to make a turn. Larger vehicles need a larger space to make a turn.
  • Don’t get caught under a truck.

[Related: Side underride guards would be most expensive mandate in trucking history?

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