News From Terre Haute, Indiana

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May 20, 2010

Six Terre Haute suspects in court for alleged connection to meth ring

TERRE HAUTE — Six Terre Haute residents face federal drug charges after their appearances Thursday in U.S. District Court in Terre Haute for alleged connection to a methamphetamine ring.

Thomas Jefferson Wakes Jr., 28, and Callie Anne Wright, 27, made  initial court appearances in which they were charged with possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute.

Michael Weir, 33, also faces the charge of possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute.

Stephanie Lindsey, 28, has been charged with laundering drug money.

Otha Scott Jr., 40, and Annette L. Turner, 21, face the charge of using a communication device to commit a felony drug offense. According to court documents, court-approved wire taps of cell phones recorded both Turner and Scott making phone calls related to drug sales.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Brad Blackington said all six defendants are lower- to middle-rung members of a methamphetamine and marijuana distribution organization allegedly led by Wesley S. “Fe Fe” Hammond, who is an inmate at the New Castle Correctional Facility in eastern Indiana. Hammond and 18 others were charged in April with operating a drug distribution ring that was investigated by area police agencies, including the Vigo County Drug Task Force and the federal Drug Enforcement Agency.

The information read in court Thursday by Magistrate Judge Craig McKee alleges that Wakes and Wright possessed meth with the intent to distribute the drug in Greene County on Oct. 19. They face a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and no fewer than three years of supervised release if convicted. However, if they have a previous felony drug conviction, the penalty increases to 30 years in prison with no fewer than six years supervised release.

The charge against Weir alleges that he possessed meth with intent to distribute in Vigo County on July 31. The penalty has a potential prison sentence of five to 40 years, up to a $2 million fine and no fewer than four years supervised release. However, a previous felony conviction increases that sentence to 10 years to life in prison, up to a $4 million fine, and no less than an eight-year period of supervised release. Lindsey faces a potential sentence of up to 10 years in prison, up to a $250,000 fine and no fewer than three years of supervised release if convicted of laundering money on March 11.

Turner, who uses the nickname, “Buddha,” and Scott face up to four years in prison, up to a $250,000 fine and no fewer than three years of supervised probation. However, the penalty increases to eight years in prison in case of a prior felony drug conviction. Scott does have a prior felony drug conviction in Vigo Superior Court 3.

All six defendants requested that a public defender be appointed for their cases. The judge set next week for detention hearings for Scott, Lindsey, Weir and Wakes. He released Turner and Wright, who is pregnant, on their own recognizance.

Lisa Trigg can be reached at (812) 231-4254 or lisa.trigg@tribstar.com.

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