Thompson Sr. gets 14-year prison term

September 07, 2003|PHIL PENDLETON

LEXINGTON - The Brodhead man and former Mount Vernon police officer who led a major drug trafficking ring that stretched from Texas to Kentucky will serve 14 years in prison.

Larry Gene Thompson, Sr., 48, was sentenced Friday by U.S. District Judge Karl Forester. "Mr. Thompson was certainly the major player in the Kentucky side (of the drug ring)," Forester said moments before giving him the low end of the 14-to-17 and one-half year recommended sentence.

About a dozen members of Thompson's family sitting in the courtroom Friday morning showed Thompson the sign language symbol for "I love you" as he was led into the courtroom.

Thompson was scheduled to be sentenced August 8, but his attorney, Jerry Cox, filed a "downward departure" motion. That asks the court to withdraw from sentencing guidelines if the defendant cooperates fully and provides assistance in the investigation or prosecution of others who have committed an offense. Cox argued that Thompson "cooperated extraordinarily" throughout the plea agreement process, but assistant U.S. Attorney Ron Walker said that Thompson had not. "If Mr. Thompson had fully cooperated, he would be sentenced to 10 years, " Walker said after the August hearing.


Cox said Thompson implicated his brother, Ronnie Thompson, whom Cox said is Larry Gene Thompson's closest family friend. Ronnie Thompson was recently arrested on charges that he prevented the seizure of property owned by Thompson Sr., who along with Joshua D. McClure of McKinney, agreed to allow the government to sell property that was seized in the wake of the drug case. Federal agents believed the property included proceeds of narcotics trafficking, according to records.

Cox compared Larry Gene Thompson's implicating his family members to what family members were forced to do during the Civil War. "At one time in the history of our country, father was against son and brother was against brother," Cox said. "There's no question he told the government everything about his crime."

Thompson did not pass a polygraph test given him by federal agents who wanted more information about the drug case. But Cox said he has no faith in those tests. Walker told Judge Forester that he insisted Thompson take the polygraph test because "we knew his brother was involved."

Walker said on Oct. 14 of last year when federal agents bought cocaine from Thompson, only a small portion of $1,800 in drug money was recovered.

"That money has never been found," Walker said. "We wanted Mr. Thompson to comply with the plea agreement, but he failed to do so. We believe he has not done anything extraordinary."

Judge Forester said he has received a "great deal" of letters from Larry Gene Thompson's family, speaking highly of him. But he said the letters failed to convince him that Thompson should be let off the hook. "Several of the letters show a lack of understanding of the seriousness of this matter," he said. He asked Thompson if he had anything to say for himself.

"I apologize to the court for everything," Thompson said. "I want to put this behind me and get back to my family."

Judge Forester gave Thompson the low end of the 14 to 17 and one-half-year sentence guideline because he said Thompson has been cooperative with the U.S. Government, speaking of how Thompson's guilty plea has led to most of the other 24 suspects involved in the drug case to also plead guilty. "Had he not plead guilty, others would have not," Forester said. "Because of that cooperation, the sentence is at the low end."

Along with the with prison term, Thompson was ordered to undergo drug treatment and education and he will be under supervised release for five years once he is released. Within 72 hours of his release, he is to report to a probation officer and submit to further drug testing. Because Forester said Thompson did not have the financial ability to pay a fine, the fine was waived.

Central Kentucky News Articles