Aug. 6 trial set on illegal drugs conspiracy

By PatsyR. Brumfield/NEMS Daily Journal

OXFORD – Legal action continues on a 26-defendants case alleging a scheme to sell illegal drugs in north Mississippi.
U.S. District Judge Sharion Aycock will preside over a trial set to start Aug. 6 in a case with hundreds of filings and motions since the first arrests in November 2010.
A federal grand jury accuses the defendants of crimes in Panola County from conspiracy to distribute powder and crack cocaine and possession of guns in the commission of a drug crime to illegal use of cell phones, money laundering and unlawful sale of marijuana.
Co-defendants who have pleaded guilty to one count and avoided trials are Jamie Terrell Bean of Pheba, Everlyn Nekeshia McKinney of Sardis, Derrick Patrick of Houston, Shantana Shana Joiner of Batesville, Stacy Moore of Shannon and Tomisha Latrice Ford of Nettleton. Jeremy Starks of Mantee pleaded guilty to two counts.
They have not yet been sentenced.
Co-defendants set to enter guilty pleas Thursday are Michael Tyrone Coats of Louisville, Terry Lamar Ewing of West Point, Ronnie Dean Bennett of West Point, and on Aug. 2 Valerie Lan Rooney of Cypress, Texas.
L.C. Ewing of Tupelo, who pleaded guilty to the conspiracy in May 2011, is set to withdraw that plea Thursday. He is accused on 12 counts.
Also facing trial in Oxford are Lonzo Lezell Griffin of Cypress, Texas, charged with 23 counts; Clemeko Dewayne Starks of Sardis, nine counts; Michael Ladell Allen of Batesville, 23 counts; Shalise Ewing of Tupelo, three counts; Kerrick Deshaun Hughes of Batesville, eight counts; Ruben Castaneda, no address listed, two counts; Santiago Villalobos III, no address listed, two counts; Airen Paige Williams, Minthu Hoang Pham, Mario Ladell McClinton and Lorde Bryon Olliver, all with no address listed and one count.
Fourteen people were arrested on federal complaints Nov. 12, 2010. Five days later a grand jury indicted them and another three defendants.
A Jan. 27, 2011, superseding indictment amended counts and added three more defendants. A second superseding indictment came in June 2011, charging 26 people with various degrees of involvement in 62 counts.
The government also posted notice that it will introduce evidence of “prior bad acts” against some of the defendants, if the charges go to trial.
In some instances, some defendants asked for separate trials. In another motion, one defendant asked that the jury pool come from the Greenville district.
Aycock denied various defense motions to suppress certain information and information obtained by wiretaps and searches.
Sentencing is scheduled Aug. 23 for co-defendants Bobby Joe Eggleston of Courtland on two counts; Roy Dale Ross of Plantersville on two counts; and Undrake Lawmarco Lane of West Point on one count.
patsy.brumfield@journalinc.com