Wednesday, March 03, 1999

Big N.Ky. trafficker arrested, police say

The Cincinnati Enquirer

        COVINGTON — A Mount Airy man described by police as the biggest and most dangerous drug supplier in Northern Kentucky was arrested Tuesday and accused of selling more than 20 kilograms of cocaine.

        Antonio Lamont Burns, 23, already on probation for drug possession, now faces the tougher federal court system. He was arrested by a team of local and federal agents who had been tracking him for more than a year.

        “He is the biggest ever for us,” said Capt. Tom Schonecker, a 29-year veteran of the Covington force. “He is the biggest. Bar none.”

        Mr. Burns was stopped and handcuffed across the street from the Kenton County Jail on the day after his birthday. He was leaving a meeting with his probation officer at the time.

        He was expected to be arraigned in federal court this afternoon on a charge of conspiracy to distribute cocaine.

        He is accused of selling the drugs in Newport and Covington from April to September of last year. With each kilo going for between $20,000 and $30,000, Mr. Burns' alleged sales could top $600,000, according to investigators.

        “That's a lot,” said Cincinnati Police Officer Tom McDaniel of the Operation Street Corner drug unit. “That's a whole lot.”

        Northern Kentucky's Safe Streets Task Force is a unit made up of FBI agents, officers from the Covington and Newport police departments and Kentucky State Police troopers.

        They have long suspected Mr. Burns dealt in large quantities of drugs. He was indicted in August for trafficking after Covington police arrested him and three other men in Mr. Burns' car with 16.8 grams of crack and at least one gun, plus more than $5,000 cash in the glove compartment. Mr. Burns had another $1,000 in cash on him, the arrest report said.

        But in a deal with prosecutors, he pleaded guilty to drug possession. It carries a possible penalty of one to five years in prison.

        U.S. marshals seized $8,000 in bail money, saying they thought it to be drug proceeds.

        The case ended last month when Mr. Burns was sentenced to three years' probation.


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