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Cocaine trafficker gets 17 years in prison | News

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Cocaine trafficker gets 17 years in prison

ATLANTA -- A cocaine trafficker who was caught by happenstance will spend more than 17 years in federal prison.

Ricky Nuckles was arrested after an off-duty DEA agent watched him participate in a drug transaction at an Atlanta gas station. The 41-year-old Johns Creek man was convicted May 13.

"We have removed another cocaine trafficker off of the streets, thanks to the quick thinking and fine police work performed by one of our own Special Agents," Daniel R. Salter, Special Agent in Charge of the DEA Atlanta Field Division, said in a release.

The transaction happened Dec. 23, 2013, at a gas station on Cheshire Bridge Road. According to information presented in court, Nuckles parked his car beside a pump and entered the station's convenience store, where he made a call on his cell phone.

Moments later, a second car pulled up to the gas station and parked beside Nuckles' car. Prosecutors said the driver placed a large suitcase inside Nuckles' vehicle, then got into his own car and drove away. As soon as the suitcase was inside, Nuckles remotely locked his car.

Unbeknownst to the defendant, an off-duty DEA agent was also at the gas station, waiting in line for an emissions inspection. After witnessing the transaction, the agent approached Nuckles and identified himself. Nuckles ran to discard the cell phone he used to place the call, while the agent dialed 911.

Atlanta Police officers arrived at the gas station, and Nuckles allowed them to search his car. Investigators opened the suitcase and saw it contained 22 kilograms of cocaine, valued at approximately $750,000. They also found a handgun and two 25-round extended magazines inside the car.

"Thanks to a vigilant off-duty DEA agent, 22 kilograms of cocaine is off the streets, and Nuckles' drug trafficking days are finished," U.S. Attorney John Horn said.

A Senior U.S. District Court Judge sentenced Nuckles to 17 years and seven months in prison, followed by five years of supervised release.

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