Crime

Man indicted in Harrison County in transport of 15 kilos of cocaine

GULFPORT -- A Florida man arrested after authorities found him with 15.7 kilos of cocaine a day after he crossed the U.S.-Mexico border has pleaded not guilty to federal charges in a three-count indictment.

Alexander Montana, 38, entered the plea following his March 10 indictment on conspiracy to distribute drugs, possession with intent to distribute drugs and interstate travel in aid of racketeering. A criminal forfeiture has been filed.

His trial is set for the May 9 court calender.

Montana is accused in a conspiracy to sell more than 5 kilos of cocaine in Harrison County in January.

He has been jailed without bond since his Feb. 1 arrest.

According to an affidavit from the agent assigned to the Drug Enforcement Administration, Montana traveled to and from the Mexican border 22 hours before he was pulled over on Interstate 10 in Gulfport.

The arresting officer checked the records and learned Montana had driven along I-10 through Mississippi in the same SUV a day or two before his arrest.

Montana agreed to a search of his SUV, which resulted in the seizure of the cocaine hidden in a compartment or "trap" under a rear seat.

Authorities learned Montana had crossed the border with Mexico 18 times in the past year and made at least one trip to Cuba.

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