Major drug dealer from Meridian found guilty of trafficking narcotics

(Information provided by the office of U.S. Attorney Mike Hurst)

Daniel Robert, a fugitive for over a decade, directed and organized cocaine trafficking operations, spanning many years and multiple states.

Daniel Robert, 43, of Meridian, was found guilty Thursday by a federal jury after a three day trial before Chief U.S. District Judge Daniel P. Jordan III in Jackson.  Robert was found guilty of two counts of conspiracy to possess cocaine with intent to distribute, one count of possession of cocaine with intent to distribute, and one count of attempted possession of cocaine with intent to distribute, announced U.S. Attorney Mike Hurst and Michelle A. Sutphin, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

“This case proves that law enforcement and prosecutors will always get their man.  Criminals can run, but they cannot hide, as the long arm of the law will always grab them wherever they are and bring them to justice.  I applaud our men and women in law enforcement for their tenacity and fortitude in ensuring this drug dealer is taken off our streets and sent to prison where he belongs,” said U.S. Attorney Hurst.

“The amount of time it takes to bring someone to justice does not deter our commitment to protect our communities,” said SAC Sutphin. “This case is a great example of the resolve of the Special Agents and prosecutors, along with our law enforcement partners, to rid our streets of those who are intent on flooding it with illicit drugs.”

From 2007 through 2009, Robert was being investigated by the FBI along with several other individuals.  The FBI’s investigation showed that Robert directed the sale of multiple kilograms of cocaine and took in tens of thousands of dollars. Robert organized the transport of cocaine from Houston, Texas, and sold the narcotics in Lauderdale County, Mississippi.  Robert’s criminal organization involved numerous people and utilized vehicles with custom built hidden compartments for transportation of drugs and money.

An undercover operation specifically showed that Robert received $16,000 in exchange for over a kilogram of cocaine.  Robert used two different individuals, who were both charged as co-conspirators, to receive money and distribute cocaine.

On June 26, 2009, Robert, along with another co-conspirator, were stopped in Vidor, Texas, driving a truck with a hidden compartment containing almost 8 kilograms of cocaine.  Robert was released from custody in Vidor, Texas, and traveled back to Mississippi.  With the help of his girlfriend, Robert attempted to reclaim his cocaine, which he believed had not been discovered in the hidden compartment.

Robert believed his girlfriend was arranging to purchase the truck from insurance adjusters who had taken possession of the truck on the basis that it was reported stolen.  The insurance adjusters were actually undercover FBI agents with the consent of the insurance company that actually owned the truck.  Video recordings and pictures were taken of Robert and his girlfriend when they came to the insurance “sale.”  After “purchasing” the truck, Robert returned to Meridian, and proceeded to attempt to recover the cocaine he thought was still inside the hidden compartment.

FBI and SWAT officers descended on the location and arrested most of the organization, but Robert was able to elude capture by fleeing into a nearby field.  Robert remained at large for a decade before he was taken into custody by the FBI.

Robert has an additional pending charge for witness tampering in the Federal District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi.  He also faces charges in Illinois for narcotics distribution and witness tampering.

Robert was indicted by a federal grand jury on September 3, 2009.  He is currently in custody and will be sentenced on May 1, 2020, by Judge Jordan.  Robert faces a maximum penalty of life in prison and a $10,000,000.00 fine.

The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.  The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Erin O. Chalk and Chet Kirkham.