Texas man guilty in plot to sell cocaine

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A Houston, Texas, trucker who was accused by the Drug Enforcement Administration of transporting cocaine from Texas to a Beaver Falls-based drug ring was found guilty by a jury Tuesday of conspiring to sell the drug, though not guilty of possessing it.

Gathon Dudley Shannon, 46, was arrested in October 2011 after agents said they stopped his truck and found $669,340 in the sleeper cabin, around the same time they caught his contact, Vincent Middlebrooks, with 16 kilograms of cocaine in his car trunk.

During a two-week trial, Shannon testified that he traveled through this area to deliver loads and visit a girlfriend in Baltimore. Assistant U.S. Attorney Troy Rivetti used Shannon's cell phone records to show that he worked with Texan Vincent D. Middlebrooks, 40, and Beaver Falls residents Adrian M. Taylor, 36, and Carlos Cleckley, 37.

Shannon, a prior felon, faces sentencing April 22 before U.S. District Judge Alan N. Bloch.

Mr. Cleckley, a former Beaver Falls High School football and basketball coach, pleaded guilty in October to conspiring to sell cocaine, and faces an April 25 sentencing. The other two conspirators also pleaded guilty but have not yet been sentenced.

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