Prosecutors asking to shorten sentence for Auburn man

MOBILE - Federal prosecutors have asked a judge to reduce the length of jail time an Auburn man faces for smuggling cocaine into the United States.

Gary Steven Krist could serve 10 years to life in prison after pleading guilty to importing the illegal drugs, as well as $4 million in fines. However, Krist might have cut two-and-a-half years off his minimum 10-year prison sentence by assisting authorities and testifying against an alleged partner.

Prosecutors in Mobile, Ala., filed a motion seeking a 25 percent sentence reduction, "off the low end," the motion reads. Krist is scheduled to be sentenced in the Southern District Federal Court on Thursday.

"It is the position of the United States that the defendant has provided substantial assistance in the investigation and prosecution of others," U.S. Attorney Deborah Rhodes said in the motion filed in an Alabama federal court.

Krist and Henry Jackson Greeson were arrested in Clear Point, Ala., in March after returning from Colombia in a 40-foot sailboat with almost 39 pounds of cocaine and four illegal immigrants who reportedly paid $6,000 apiece to come to the United States.

Krist also pleaded guilty to a charge of smuggling aliens.

Greeson also faces 10 years to life in prison and up to $4 million in fines. He is scheduled to be sentenced Jan. 31.

The alleged co-conspirator, Antonio Bryan Joseph, pleaded guilty last week to one count of intent to sell, distribute or dispense cocaine. He is scheduled to be sentenced at 10 a.m. April 14.

Police later found an underground cocaine lab on Krist's Auburn property concealed by an above-ground storage shed.

In 1968, Krist, a former physician, kidnapped Emory University student Barbara Mackle and buried her alive in Berkeley Lake. Krist collected a $500,000 ransom from her father, a Florida developer, and Mackle was rescued after more than three days underground. Krist was sentenced to life in prison but was granted parole after 10 years.