Ten Arrested on Federal Drug Trafficking Charges | USAO-SDMS

Jackson, Miss. –Ten individuals have been arrested pursuant to federal indictments unsealed today as part of an ongoing Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) operation fighting drug trafficking in the Southern District of Mississippi, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Darren LaMarca, Brad L. Byerley, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Jack P. Stanton, Acting Special Agent in Charge of Homeland Security Investigations in New Orleans, Colonel Steven Maxwell, Director of the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics, and Scott County Sheriff Mike Lee.

OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level criminal organizations that threaten the United States using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach that leverages the strengths of federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies against criminal networks.

  • John Moore, 53, of Lawrence, MS, is charged with one count of conspiracy and three counts of possession with intent to distribute 100 grams or more of heroin.  He he faces a maximum sentence of 40 years in prison and a $5,000,000 fine. 
  • Michael Ledbetter, 41, of Lake, MS, is charged with two counts of conspiracy and four counts of possession with intent to distribute 50 grams or more of methamphetamine.  He faces a maximum sentence of life imprisonment and a $10,000,000 fine. 
  • Danielle Ledbetter, 47, and Shameika Johnson, 29, both of Lake, MS, are each charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute 50 grams or more of methamphetamine, and each faces a maximum sentence of life imprisonment and a $10,000,000 fine. 
  • Nicholas Smith, 26, of Forest, MS, and John Purvis, Jr., 51, of Morton, MS, are each charged with one count of conspiracy and one count of possession with intent to distribute five grams or more of methamphetamine. They each face a maximum sentence of 40 years imprisonment and a $5,000,000 fine.
  • Malinda Pope, 42, of Forest, MS, is charged with one count of conspiracy and one count of possession with intent to distribute 50 grams or more of methamphetamine.  Pope faces a maximum sentence of life imprisonment and a $10,000,000 fine.
  • Lorenzo Sutton, 41, of Jackson, MS, is charged with one count of conspiracy and two counts of possession with intent to distribute 50 grams or more of methamphetamine. Sutton faces a maximum sentence of life imprisonment and a $10,000,000 fine.
  • Jermaine Gray, 39, of Forest, MS, is charged with one count of using a telephone in causing and facilitating a drug crime.  Gray faces a maximum sentence of four years imprisonment and a $250,000 fine.
  • Erica Rhodes, 32, currently in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections, is charged with one count of conspiracy, one count of possession with intent to distribute 50 grams or more of methamphetamine, and one count of possession with intent to distribute a mixture or substance containing a detectable amount of methamphetamine.  Rhodes faces a maximum sentence of life imprisonment and a $10,000,000 fine.

John Moore, Michael Ledbetter, Danielle Ledbetter, Shameika Johnson, Nicholas Smith, John Purvis, Jr., and Malinda Pope are scheduled to appear before U.S. Magistrate Judge F. Keith Ball on Monday, April 19, 2021, at 1:30 p.m. for arraignment.

Lorenzo Sutton and Jermaine Gray are scheduled to appear before U.S. Magistrate Judge LaKeysha Greer Isaac on Tuesday, April 20, 2021, at 10:00 a.m. for arraignment.  The arraignment date for Erica Rhodes has not been set as of the time of this release.

These cases are prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Carla J. Clark.  The cases were investigated as part of an ongoing OCDETF partnership between the Drug Enforcement Administration, Homeland Security Investigations, the Department of Public Safety including both the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics and the Mississippi Highway Patrol, and the Scott County Sheriff’s Office, with the assistance of the Jackson High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Task Force (HIDTA), Mississippi Attorney General’s Office, the Rankin County Sheriff’s Office, Forest Police Department, Pelahatchie Police Department, the Hinds County Sheriff’s Office, the Jackson Police Department, the State of Mississippi District Attorney’s Offices for the Eighth and Twentieth Judicial Districts, and the Drug Court for the Eighth Judicial District.

The public is reminded that an indictment is merely a charge and should not be considered as evidence of guilt.  Every defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

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Author: Editor
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