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Semi driver sentenced to federal prison for hauling heroin, fentanyl, meth, and cocaine on I-70 through Illinois

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This week, a semi driver was sentenced to more than a decade in federal prison after he was caught by Illinois State Police hauling nearly 40 kilograms of illegal drugs.

Texas-based truck driver Ledaniel Russell, 50, was sentenced to twelve years in federal prison, according to a January 23 news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Illinois. Russell was also sentenced to five years of supervised release.

Russell pleaded guilty to one count of possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance: heroin, fentanyl, meth and cocaine.

The charge stems from a traffic stop that occurred on September 15, 2022.

Illinois State Police pulled over a semi truck driven by Russell on I-70 in Madison County.

“Following a search of Russell’s trailer, troopers located two large duffel bags concealing a kilogram of heroin, 4.5 kilograms of fentanyl, almost 32 kilograms of meth and nearly 2 kilograms of cocaine … In an interview with law enforcement, Russell admitted he planned to deliver the drugs to Michigan, after he stopped in Indiana to deliver his truck’s legitimate cargo,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

“Heroin, fentanyl, meth and cocaine all have a dangerous history of infecting individuals and causing harm in communities due to the war on drugs,” said U.S. Attorney Rachelle Aud Crowe. “I commend the Illinois State Police for interrupting this drug trafficking operation and having the training to detect semitrailer drivers with illegitimate agendas.”

“The Illinois State Police is committed to stopping illegal drug traffickers and keeping dangerous drugs from flooding and hurting our communities,” said ISP Director Brendan F. Kelly. “Whether it’s a trooper on the road or a special agent investigating, ISP is targeting drug traffickers and will continue to work with the U.S. Attorney’s Office to put them behind bars.”

“We know our nations’ freeways are the arteries that bring Mexican cartels’ illegal drugs into our communities,” said Assistant Special Agent in Charge Joseph Dixon, head of Drug Enforcement Administration investigations in southern Illinois. “DEA, working in lockstep with our partners from the Illinois State Police, will continue to be laser-focused on targeting, disrupting and dismantling the pipelines used to transport deadly drugs so they don’t impact the health and safety of our citizens.”

The case was investigated by Illinois State Police and the DEA.

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