By Patsy R. Brumfield/NEMS Daily Journal
ABERDEEN – Seven defendants accused in regional drug cases pleaded guilty Thursday in federal court.
Most of them are among 26 defendants indicted in what prosecutors claim is a conspiracy to distribute powder and crack cocaine and marijuana, as well as to commit money laundering and possess guns in the commission of a drug crime.
Some of their co-defendants are scheduled for a trial to start Aug. 6 before U.S. District Judge Sharion Aycock.
Pleading guilty Thursday were Kerrick Deshaun Hughes of Batesville, one count of intentional possession of crack cocaine; Shalise Ewing of Tupelo, one count of conspiracy with a co-defendant to travel to Texas with the intent to distribute the proceeds of selling cocaine and marijuana; Terry Lamar Ewing of West Point, one count of possession with intent to distribute powder cocaine; Clemeko Dewayne Starks of Sardis, one count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute powder cocaine; Ronnie Bennett of West Point, one count of conspiracy to distribute powder cocaine; and Michael Tyrone Coats of Louisville, one count of conspiracy to distribute powder cocaine.
In a separate case out of Union and Monroe counties, one of 17 co-defendants changed his not-guilty plea before Aycock on Thursday.
Kenyatta Russell of Decatur pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute cocaine and cocaine base.
Prior to sentencing, the U.S. Probation Service prepares a report on each person to assist Aycock with her decisions on punishment.
No date for sentencing will be set until after those reports are complete.