U.S. Attorney's Office
District of South Dakota
(605) 330-4400
February 13, 2015

Washington Man Sentenced for Conspiracy to Distribute Drugs

United States Attorney Brendan V. Johnson announced that a Washington man charged with Conspiracy to Distribute and Possess with Intent to Distribute a Controlled Substance pled guilty to and was sentenced on February 9, 2015, by U.S. District Judge Roberto A. Lange.

Bruce Gerald Cole, age 47, was sentenced to 60 months in custody, to run concurrent with sentences imposed in federal court in Nevada and state court in New Hampshire, two years of supervised release, and $100 to the Federal Crime Victims Fund.

The conviction stems from an incident that took place in the spring of 2009, when Cole directed a shipment of high-grade marijuana from Washington State across the United States. Cole directed couriers to drive his vehicle, which was loaded with two duffel bags containing approximately 22.67 kilograms of high-grade marijuana, a canister containing 61.5 grams of heroin, and two firearms. Cole planned to fly to Michigan to rendezvous with the couriers and his vehicle. He would then sell the shipment himself, thus keeping the couriers out of the business transaction. Cole said he planned to use the firearms for his personal protection during the drug transaction and the heroin was for his personal use. On May 27, 2009, South Dakota Law Enforcement intercepted the vehicle, couriers, heroin, and firearms.

The investigation was conducted by the Northern Plains Safe Trails Drug Enforcement Task Force, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the South Dakota Highway Patrol, the Drug Enforcement Administration, and several law enforcement agencies in the state of Washington. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Tim Maher.

Cole was remanded to the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service.

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