GULFPORT, Mississippi — Three South Mississippi residents have pleaded guilty to transporting large amounts of methamphetamine, cocaine and marijuana from Texas to the Gulf Coast.
Federal prosecutors said Kenneth Casey, 40, of Gulfport; Thomas Bernard, 34, of Pass Christian; and Tonya Winn, 50, of Long Beach, each pleaded guilty this week to attempted possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance.
The Sun Herald reports (http://bit.ly/1b9oT6B ) Casey and Bernard admitted their roles in a conspiracy to possess more than 500 grams of cocaine, and Winn admitted her role in a conspiracy to possess more than 100 kilos of marijuana.
Casey and Bernard are facing a maximum prison sentence of 40 years and a $5,000 fine. Winn faces a maximum sentence of five years and a $5,000 fine.
U.S. District Judge Louis Guirola Jr. scheduled sentencing for July 1.
Earlier this month, Angel Case, 47, of Diamondhead, pleaded guilty to a conspiracy charge. She is facing a maximum prison term of 20 years and up to a $1 million fine. She has a June 23 sentencing date.
In exchange for the pleas, the government dismissed the remaining charges against the four.
A fifth person, Delano Lewis, 45, of Picayune, is awaiting trial.
Authorities said the five were arrested after a June 18, 2013, search of a Diamondhead home that resulted in the seizure of ice, the purest form of meth, cocaine and prescription drugs. Case and Lewis were at the home at the time.
Prosecutors said Case told investigators she was a courier for Casey and Bernard and the three would pick up pounds of meth, kilos of cocaine and 50 to 100 pounds of marijuana from hotels in Houston to distribute in Hancock County. Case told agents which hotels they stayed at and prosecutors said records confirmed the hotel stays throughout 2013.
Phone records for Nov. 15, 2013, showed Case called Casey and Bernard while she was in the Hancock County jail to discuss drug trafficking and money owed as a result of the transactions.
On Dec. 5, Drug Enforcement Administration agents received a tip that Casey and Bernard were headed to Houston to make a buy and records confirmed Casey had a truck to make the trip.
On Dec. 7, West Baton Rouge drug task-force officers stopped the pickup, which Winn was driving, and seized 75 pounds of marijuana, 3 kilos of cocaine and one pound of meth.
Prosecutors said Winn told agents she, too, was a courier for Casey and Bernard, and Bernard traveled ahead of her in a car Casey rented. Casey told agents he and Bernard regularly drove to Houston to buy drugs. Casey said he paid Winn $400 to make the trips, according to court documents.
Information from: The Sun Herald, http://www.sunherald.com
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