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Four accused of running cocaine on Amtrak

(The following story by Ron Jones appeared at CBS13.com on June 30, 2009.)

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Four people have been accused of running an elaborate drug ring on Amtrak trains, evading detection for more than a year, according to authorities.

Federal agents say at least four people were part of an alleged ring to transport hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of cocaine by flying people from Detroit to San Francisco, and then given kilos of cocaine and told to ride the train back to Detroit via Amtrak.

The criminal complaint against the suspects says they allegedly scouted security on the route and found nothing that would disrupt their deliveries. After more than a year of flying under the radar, federal authorities finally got tipped off and the ring was busted.

Frequent Amtrak riders say you shouldn't expect to see many bag checks on Amtrak trains.

"I've never seen anybody inspecting anything, frankly," said Chris Purves.

"You got to the airport and take off your shoes and do all this stuff… and you get on the train and park your suitcase and that's the end of that," said Mary Rutishauser.

Amtrak officials say they do random baggage screenings as well as targeting problem areas around the country with undercover officers.

The suspects -- identified as 49-year-old Jimmie Perryman, 31-year-old Jimmie Griffen, 29-year-old Patrick Stevens and 28-year-old Shaunita Brooks -- have all been booked into jail. Stevens and Brooks are currently incarcerated in the Sacramento County Jail.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

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