Former military members sentenced in cocaine importation conspiracy

Northwest Florida
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PENSACOLA, Fla.– Two men have been sentenced on drug trafficking charges. 

36-year-old Daniel J. Gould of Crestview, and 36-year-old Henry W. Royer of Fayetteville, North Carolina, were each sentenced to 9 years in federal prison on Tuesday for two drug trafficking conspiracy counts involving large amounts of cocaine.

Gould pleaded guilty to the federal indictment in December 2018, and Royer pleaded guilty in February 2019.

A third co-defendant, 25-year-old Gustavo A. Pareja of Colombia, is awaiting extradition to the United States to stand trial in Pensacola.

Between January and August 2018 in the Northern District of Florida, and in the country of Colombia, former Master Sergeant Daniel Gould of the United States Army and Henry Royer, formerly of the United States Army and Army National Guard, conspired to distribute large amounts of cocaine, knowing it would be unlawfully imported into the United States.

In August 2018, the United States Drug Enforcement Administration received information that Gould had attempted to import 40 kilograms of cocaine onto a military transport flight in Colombia with a final destination in the Northern District of Florida.

Suspicion was aroused at the United States Embassy in Colombia when packages were x-rayed, revealing cocaine within gutted out punching bags.

On August 13, 2018, when the cocaine was seized at the embassy, Gould had already returned home and was awaiting its arrival.

The conspiracy began in early 2018 when Gould and Royer initially imported 10 kilograms of cocaine into the United States.

Royer traveled to Colombia with U.S. currency to use as payment. Gould placed the cocaine in a gutted punching bag and had the package transported to Bogota to be placed on a United States military aircraft. A few days later, the cocaine-filled punching bag arrived at Duke Field, which is an auxiliary airfield of Eglin Air Force Base.

Gould and Royer distributed the 10 kilograms of cocaine in Northwest Florida. Gould and Royer then reinvested the money from the first load of cocaine into the second load of 40 kilograms of cocaine. Gould placed approximately $65,000 in cash on a United States military cargo aircraft destined for Colombia as funds for the next purchase.

In early August 2018, Gould and Royer returned to Colombia and provided money for the 40 kilograms to their source of cocaine supply.

Gould and Royer received the cocaine, loaded the 40 kilograms into two gutted punching bags, and coordinated transport to the embassy before flying back to the United States.

The estimated value of 40 kilograms of cocaine in the Northern District of Florida would be in excess of $1 million.

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