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Man sentenced for drug offense

August 27, 1998|By MARLO BARNHART

A Fort Pierce, Fla., man was sentenced to six years in prison Tuesday after pleading guilty to possession with intent to distribute cocaine.

In sentencing Jimmie Troutman, 28, Washington County Circuit Judge Kennedy Boone ordered that after his release, Troutman be placed on probation for three years and return to Florida, court records said.

A charge of gaining proceeds from controlled dangerous substance trafficking and cocaine distribution was dropped in exchange for Tuesday's plea.

A representative of the F&M Bank in Hagerstown alerted agents of the Washington County Narcotics Task Force on Jan. 2 of suspicious activity relating to the exchange of large amounts of currency for $100 bills, court records said.

The suspicions were first raised last November when a woman driving a white Chevrolet Suburban with Florida tags went into the Halfway branch with $7,000 in small bills to exchange for hundreds, court records said.

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She returned later with $2,000 and asked for the same transaction, court records said.

When questioned, the woman told bank tellers she and her boyfriend were from New York and had just opened a beauty supply store, court records said.

In December, Troutman, driving the same vehicle as the woman, went in and requested several cashier's checks for $5,000 each, paying in small bills, court records said.

He also got a lock box and applied for a credit card.

The bank's fraud specialist was alerted and a check of Troutman's application noted a Florida address and an employment record as a field foreman for a harvesting company that wouldn't support the large cash transactions, court records said.

Troutman and the woman were photographed during the transactions and NTF agents were alerted, court records said.

On Jan. 8, NTF agents executed search and seizure warrants on Noland Drive and Tanglewood Court where they seized $13,400 in cash and a quantity of suspected cocaine, court records said.

Troutman had been known to reside at both addresses, court records said.

Court records also noted that NTF agents are aware that drug trafficking generates large amounts of "street money'' in small denominations.

Such money is bulky and often is changed into larger bills. In addition, transactions are kept under $10,000 to avoid the filing of a currency transaction report with the Internal Revenue Service, court records said.

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