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Bus Driver Pleads Guilty in Drug Case

February 1, 2006

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) _ A Greyhound bus driver pleaded guilty to federal conspiracy and money-laundering charges accusing him of shuttling more than 300 pounds of cocaine on buses from Texas for sale in Tennessee.

Beginning in January 2000, Christopher Winford, 33, would regularly check out buses from the terminal in Memphis, where he lived, and drive them by himself to a supplier in Houston to pick up the cocaine, prosecutors said.

He collected about $2.5 million during the three-year operation, prosecutors said, some of which he attempted to launder through investments and the bank accounts of his mother and now ex-wife.

He did not transport the drugs during his regularly scheduled runs, Assistant U.S. Attorney David Jennings said in court records.

A spokeswoman for Dallas-based Greyhound Bus Lines Inc. declined to comment on how Winford was able to regularly check out buses. The company has been cooperating with the FBI for 15 months, she said.

``We can’t discuss the details,″ spokeswoman Anna Folmnsbee said.

Authorities said one of Winford’s alleged buyers tipped them off.

Winford is being held until his May 8 sentencing hearing, when he could face 10 years for the conspiracy charge and up to 20 years on the money laundering charges.

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