The trial for three Jefferson Davis County men facing amulti-count indictment on federal drug charges began today before U.S. FederalJudge Keith Starrett in Gulfport.
Kentorre Hall, a/k/a-Toto, Roger Randale Jones,a/k/a-Hitman, and Martel Torres Barnes, a/k/a-Marty Mar were all present withtheir individual attorneys to stand trial for the six-count indictmentinvolving their connection with the alleged Cedar Grove drug trafficking organization.
Jury selection took place with 41 jurors, and by 3:00 p.m.was narrowed to nine males, and six females in the Dan M. Russell Jr. UnitedStates Courthouse.
Opening statements took place around 4:30 p.m. and consistedof government attorney Annette Williams painting the picture of the allegeddrug trafficking organization which spans Jefferson Davis, Covington, Forrest,and potentially Lamar Counties as well as other parts of central Mississippi.
According to Williams, the prosecution has in theneighborhood of 20 witnesses that can testify to how the organization worked,as well as various aspects of it. Williams also stated that the primary purposeof the organization was trafficking methamphetamine.
All three defense attorneys spent a portion of their openingstatements to remind the jury that some witnesses being brought forward by thegovernment have some type of charges being brought against them. All of the attorneyseach stated their clients all had no part in the conspiracy.
The six-count indictment, which had count two dismissed,details that the defendants knowingly and intentionally conspired, confederatedand agreed together with each other, and with other persons known and unknown tothe Grand Jury, that they conspired to possess with intent to distribute acontrolled substance.
According to the indictment, it was part of the conspiracythat they conspired to possess with intent to distribute at least 500 grams ormore of methamphetamine, less than 50 kilos of marijuana, as well as acontrolled substance that involved a substance that contained a detectibleamount of cocaine.
The indictment also details the use of the residence at 314Cedar Grove in Prentiss Mississippi, as a place that was used for unlawfullymanufacturing, distributing, storing, and using controlled substances, to wit,methamphetamine, marijuana, and cocaine.
The fourth-count of the indictment details the use ofcarrying and possessing firearms in relation to a drug trafficking crime.
According to Williams, count five of the indictment only pertainsto Kentorre Hall, and states that he did knowingly and willingly possess withintent to distribute a substance containing methamphetamine.
The sixth-count of the indictment states that beginning onan unknown date, prior to Sept. 1, 2011, and continuing through April 2014, inJeff Davis County the defendants did knowingly carry and use a firearm, duringand in relation to a drug trafficking crime.
Testimony is expected to begin Tuesday starting at 9:00 a.m.as the prosecutors will call their first witness.
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