Drug courier to serve four years for moving cocaine through South Mississippi

GULFPORT -- A Florida woman was sentenced Thursday to four years in prison for serving as a drug courier to move kilos of cocaine from Florida to Texas by way of South Mississippi.

U.S. District Judge Sul Ozerden also ordered Keriyae Simmons of Jacksonville to serve two years under post-release supervision and pay a $5,000 fine on a charge of interstate travel in aid of racketeering. In exchange for her plea, the government dismissed two other charges.

Simmons and Jaylyn Holland, also of Jacksonville, pleaded guilty to the same charge. Holland is serving the same sentence. Both women admitted they were paid $500 each to deliver the drugs.

Others indicted in the case were Herman McGee Jr., 27, and Michael Lamar Ricks, 27.

McGee pleaded guilty to charge of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute more than 500 grams of cocaine and conspiracy to possess a firearm in a drug-trafficking scheme. His sentencing is Oct. 20.

Ricks pleaded guilty to a drug conspiracy charge. His sentencing is Oct. 15.

A federal grand jury had indicted all four on a drug conspiracy charge, possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance, and interstate travel in aid of racketeering. McGee was indicted on the additional firearms charge.

Harrison County deputies arrested McGee, Simmons and Holland in a Jan. 9 traffic stop that resulted in the seizure of more than four kilograms of cocaine.

Deputies arrested the four after they realized they had stopped McGee in one vehicle, and the women in another, though both cars were registered to McGee.

In one of the vehicles, deputies found a .45-caliber handgun in the trunk and cocaine in the back seat.

Holland and Simmons later admitted McGee coordinated the trips and packed the vehicles with drugs.

The Harrison County Sheriff's Office and agents with the Drug Enforcement Administration investigated the case.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Annette Williams prosecuted.