Man gets 27-year sentence for cocaine trafficking

Casey Grove

A Kansas City, Mo., man who federal prosecutors in Alaska called a "prolific cocaine trafficker," will spend 27 years behind bars, according to his sentence handed down Monday in Anchorage.

A jury convicted Thomas Riley, 44, in November on charges of possessing cocaine with the intent to distribute and for being a felon in possession of a firearm. Prosecutors say Riley mailed cash and cocaine -- hundreds of thousands of dollars worth -- between Texas, Alaska and Missouri in 2008 and 2009.

During Riley's trial in Anchorage, the prosecutors showed that he was caught while trying to mail $29,100 to Kansas City in April 2009 and another box with $73,520 bound for Texas, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office in a written statement. The release says cash in the second shipment was all in $20 bills.

A postal inspector traced the packages to a post office box at downtown Anchorage's Eastchester Post Office, prosecutors said. Investigators later seized a package sent to the post office box holding 2 kilograms of cocaine and discovered that there had been at least 18 similar-sized shipments to the post office box, the U.S. Attorney's Office said.

The prosecutors said a "conservative estimate" of the amount of cocaine Riley sold is 33 kilos, which put at least $396,000 profit in Riley's pocket.

The judge who sentenced Riley called it an "extraordinary" case and said the prison term will keep Riley imprisoned into his 70s. Under the sentence, Riley was issued a fine equal to his estimated drug profit and ordered to forfeit a 2004 Cadillac Escalade, a 2008 Ford F-450, a 2007 Ford Taurus, and $215,629 in cash, the U.S. Attorney's Office said.

Reach Casey Grove at or 257-4589.

Anchorage Daily News