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March 29, 2006
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Man hauling $600,000 in coke gets 45 yrs.


[Related P-1 story: How to find $120,000 worth of Heroin (Secure--Log in required)]

An Indiana man who passed through Madison County while hauling $600,000 worth of cocaine was sentenced Tuesday to 45 years in prison.

Richard Austin, 50, of Fort Wayne, Ind., was convicted in November of drug trafficking and armed violence.

Illinois State Police stopped his vehicle on Interstate 70 near Troy in January 2005. A search of the vehicle turned up about 10 pounds of cocaine and multiple weapons, including loaded handguns.

Authorities said the cocaine was being delivered from Texas to Indiana.

Associate Judge James Hackett sentenced Austin to 30 years in prison on the drug-trafficking charge and 15 years in prison on the armed-violence charge. The sentences have to be served back-to-back, and Austin must serve at least 85 percent of them.

Charges against four co-defendants are pending.

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