- Associated Press - Thursday, September 10, 2015

MONROE, La. (AP) - Federal prosecutors say the leader of a ring of thieves that stole more than 30 tractors, trailers and other motor vehicles in Louisiana and Mississippi has been sentenced to more than nine years in prison.

U.S. Attorney Stephanie A. Finley says 63-year-old James Phillips, of Rayville, was sentenced Tuesday on one count of interstate transportation of stolen motor vehicles. He was sentenced to three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $443,500 in restitution.

Two co-defendants - 61-year-old Otis Frankenll, of Delhi, and 54-year-old Gary Hunter, of Greenville, Mississippi - were sentenced on Aug. 12.

Prosecutors say Phillips was arrested in August 2013 driving a stolen vehicle and that investigators discovered he was the leader of the ring of thieves. The vehicles had a value in excess of $850,000.

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