Valdosta Daily Times

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October 2, 2013

Ex-NFL player pleads guilty in Valdosta court

VALDOSTA — A former NFL player pleaded guilty Tuesday in federal court to heroin and firearm charges stemming from a January Interstate 75 traffic stop in Lowndes County, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Middle District of Georgia.

Robert Cedrick Baker III, 37, of Gainesville, Fla., pleaded guilty to possession with intent to distribute heroin and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug-trafficking crime in the Valdosta federal courtroom of U.S.  District Judge Hugh Lawson.

Baker is a former wide receiver for the Miami Dolphins.

Baker “was stopped by the Lowndes County Sheriff’s Office on the evening of Jan. 20, 2013, on Georgia Highway 401 (I-75) for a traffic violation,” according to the U.S. Attorney’s office. “A consensual search of his car revealed that Mr. Baker was in possession of 59.5 grams of heroin and a Smith & Wesson, 9mm semi-automatic pistol.”

Baker possessed the heroin for the purpose of distributing it, he admitted as part of his guilty plea, “and he was carrying the 9mm semi-automatic pistol in furtherance of his drug-trafficking crime,” according to a U.S. Attorney’s statement.

 “Mr. Baker made a terrible mistake when he chose to traffic illegal drugs, and particularly when he brought a gun along to help him do so,” said U.S. Attorney Michael Moore. “He will have a long time to reflect on that mistake in federal prison.”

Baker is looking at the possibility of a maximum of 20 years in prison and a $1 million fine for the heroin charge, followed by at least three years of supervised release. The firearm charge could land him a mandatory minimum of five years in prison to a maximum of life behind bars and a $250,000 fine.He will be sentenced at a later date.

“By statute, the term of imprisonment imposed for possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug-trafficking crime will run consecutive to the term of imprisonment imposed for possession with intent to distribute heroin," according to the U.S. Attorney.

In addition to the Lowndes County Sheriff’s Office, the Drug Enforcement Administration, and the Bureau of Alcohol,  Tobacco, Firearms and  Explosives worked this case.

 Assistant U.S. Attorney Peter Leary is prosecuting the government’s case.

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