Feds charge brother of area drug ring leader

August 28, 2003|PHIL PENDLETON

LEXINGTON - The brother of the former Mount Vernon police officer accused of leading a major drug trafficking ring is now in trouble with the law himself.

Ronnie Thompson of Mount Vernon is accused of preventing the seizure or securing of property owned by Larry Gene Thompson Sr.

Thompson Sr. is scheduled to be sentenced Sept. 5 in U.S. District Court on charges related to heading up a cocaine and marijuana trafficking operation that stretched from Texas to Kentucky. Thompson and 25 others, several of them from Lincoln County, were indicted in federal court last year following a 15-month investigation.

Thompson Sr. and suspect Joshua D. McClure of McKinney agreed to allow the government to sell property, including livestock, that was "seized or subject to seize," according to court records.


Search warrants were obtained by various law enforcement officials to identify assets that were subject to seizure and forfeiture to the government as being proceeds of narcotics trafficking, according to court records. Ronnie Thompson is accused of interfering with that process.

According to a nine-page affidavit by Internal Revenue Service Special Agent Walter Woosley, Ronnie Thompson violated federal law because he allegedly "prevented the seizure or securing of certain cattle, livestock, farm equipment or other personal property or chattels ... and did dispose of, transfer or otherwise prevent or impair the government's lawful authority to search and seize said property."

When first approached by federal agents about the removal of livestock owned by Thompson Sr. in January, the affidavit states, "Ronnie Thompson admitted that he had removed some of the livestock and equipment and moved it to the farm on Brindle Ridge Road."

But Ronnie Thompson also told the agents that all of the livestock and equipment on his farm belonged to him and that the United States had no right to it, according to court records.

Woosley said he received information in January that assets belonging to Thompson Sr. and McClure were being removed and sold in violation of the restraining order.

"A cooperating defendant provided information that in mid-January 2003, McClure, Ronnie Thompson, and a third party rounded up approximately 50 head of cattle and placed them in a separate holding pen on the McClure farm, purportedly to better feed the animals." But the affidavit goes on to state that "under the cover of night, the cattle were removed and disappeared."

Later that month, special agents visited Ronnie Thompson where he worked as a janitor at the Rockcastle County Courthouse, and Thompson told the agents that he voluntarily took on the responsibility of feeding the animals after his brother was incarcerated.

Ronnie Thompson also allegedly told the agents that upon learning that the federal government was seizing the animals, he took that to mean he was supposed to stop feeding them, and stopped, according to the affidavit.

Ronnie Thompson told agents that "none of the cows on his property belonged to Larry Thompson Sr." But when federal agents asked if he had moved some of the cows, Ronnie Thompson stated that he had moved some of them to Brindle Ridge Road so that they would be easier to feed.

Woosley said information obtained from the Garrard County Stockyards showed Ronnie Thompson sold 12 feeder calves to the stockyards. The checks were made out to Thompson's daughters, the affidavit states.

The sale took place about two weeks after the cattle were removed from McClure's farm, according to court records. During a later interview with the daughters and Ronnie Thompson's wife on June 26, the daughters told federal agents they were unaware of the sale to the stockyards and "had never seen the checks before and said they did not sign or negotiate them."

Ronnie Thompson was arrested Aug. 12 and was arraigned in U.S. District Court in Lexington on Aug. 13. He has been released from custody and is ordered to appear in court Tuesday for a preliminary examination, according to court records.

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