COLBERT COUNTY, Ala. – 33 year-old Vennis Minosa Oates Jr. pleaded guilty in federal court to charges related to an attempt to ship about a pound of methamphetamine from Los Angeles to Leighton using the U.S. Mail. That’s according to U.S. Attorney Joyce White Vance.
Oates faced charges for conspiracy to distribute and possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine as well as attempted possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine. Oates is scheduled for sentencing April 6.
A second Colbert County man charged in the case, Keelan Shuntez Robinson of Muscle Shoals, pleaded guilty in October to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine and possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine. He is scheduled for sentencing January 26.
Authorities say Oates and Robinson both were arrested in Leighton in January after they arrived at the U.S. Post Office in Leighton to pick up a suspicious package. Oates drove Robinson to the post office and waited in the car while Robinson went inside and received the package, according to Oates’ plea agreement.
U.S. postal inspectors and members of the Colbert County Drug Task Force and the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency were monitoring retrieval of the package after a resident at the address listed on the parcel initially refused its delivery.
Following Oates’ and Robinson’s arrests, police obtained a search warrant authorizing them to open the package and found it contained about a pound of methamphetamine and about two pounds of marijuana. Postal inspectors subsequently analyzed inbound and outbound packages with destination addresses similar to the Leighton methamphetamine package and identified 14 inbound and two outbound packages, according to the plea agreement. Oates packaged large amounts of cash and shipped it to California to pay for the illegal drugs, the plea agreement said.
The maximum penalty for the conspiracy and distribution charges are 20 years in prison and a $1 million fine.