Abingdon man sentenced to 14 years in cocaine trafficking operation

An Abingdon man was sentenced to 14 years in federal court on Tuesday for trafficking large amounts of cocaine

An Abingdon man was sentenced to 14 years in federal court on Tuesday for trafficking large amounts of cocaine into Maryland through a Linthicum Heights warehouse.

U.S. District Judge Ellen L. Hollander sentenced William Frederick Cornish, 52, at a hearing in U.S. District Court in Baltimore. Cornish previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine, the Maryland U.S. Attorney's Office said.

Authorities began investigating Cornish after the Drug Enforcement Administration received information that a group was trafficking large amounts of cocaine into the state through a warehouse on Golden Ring Road in Baltimore. Investigators determined that the business using the warehouse, KMKJ Trucking, LLC, had been evicted in July 2015 and that the company was operating out of a warehouse on Hammonds Ferry Road. On April 6, 2016, law enforcement conducting surveillance at the warehouse saw a tractor trailer with the company's logo unloading packages, the office said.

Two days later, Cornish was stopped in a vehicle by law enforcement shortly after leaving the warehouse area, federal prosecutors said. A narcotics detection dog scanned the truck. Authorities found 31 kilograms of cocaine, worth about $1 million, in the back seat of the truck, the office said.

Cornish's attorney, Paul R. Kramer, said Cornish had previous federal convictions, which could have made him eligible for a mandatory life sentence.

"We felt it was best to work out a plea," he said.

Cornish's co-conspirators were also stopped as they left the warehouse. Law enforcement recovered three large duffel bags in the basement of one of the homes containing approximately $2.4 million in cash, as well as a ledger in the home documenting just over $2.4 million in receipts from the sale of illegal drugs, federal prosecutors said.

At Cornish's home, investigators found a money counter, colored rubber bands, latex gloves and a digital scale, used to count and package money and to weigh drugs for distribution.

Investigators also found a radio frequency detector to identify possible hidden transmitters and electronic devices that are often used by law enforcement while investigating the distribution of illegal drugs, the office said.



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