Trevino enters last minute guilty plea

November 04, 2003|PHIL PENDLETON

LEXINGTON - The last defendant among 25 charged in a major drug trafficking ring avoided a jury trial Monday when he entered a last minute guilty plea. Carlos Trevino, of Edinburgh Texas, entered the plea before U.S. District Judge Karl Forester in federal court in Lexington.

Trevino was charged with conspiracy to distribute five kilograms of cocaine, money laundering, transporting money across state lines, using a telephone to commit felony drug offenses, and being an illegal alien in the United States.

He was alleged to have been the "middle man" who supplied drugs to former Mount Vernon police officer Larry Gene Thompson, Sr. Investigators said that Thompson Sr., 48, of Brodhead was the leader in the drug ring. He was sentenced to 14 years in prison on Sept. 5. Many of those involved in the ring were residents of Boyle, Garrard and Lincoln counties.

According to the federal indictment, Trevino's offenses occurred between Jan. 1997 and Nov. 2002.


U.S. Attorney Gregory F. Van Tatenhove was not surprised with Trevino's plea.

"Over 90 percent of our cases are resolved in pleas," he said.

Trevino faces a minimum of four years to life in prison, a $4 million fine and not more than five years supervised release on the conspiracy to distribute charge. All other counts carry a minimum of four-years in prison and up to a $30,000 fine. Van Tatenhove said Judge Forester will determine the sentencing guidelines.

"We won't make a recommendation," he said.

Van Tatenhove said he doesn't know if Trevino will receive a lesser sentence because of the plea.

"The only time we consider a plea for a lesser sentence is when the defendant cooperates with us," he said.

Final sentencing has been set for 9:15 a.m. on Jan. 16.

Up until Monday's plea, Trevino's case was the only one among the 25 others that was scheduled to go to trial. Most of the other defendants have already been sentenced. Van Tatenhove said while he cannot comment on ongoing investigations, the Thompson case is coming to a close.

"It's been a very important case," he said, speaking of the organizational nature of the drug offenses involved. "I believe that this office needs to focus on organizational cases. We need to be going after organizations (involved with ) drug trade."

Most the arrests came about Oct. 17, 2002, when federal agents announced that a drug ring had been broken up the result of a 15-month investigation. The Drug Enforcement Administration believed that cocaine and marijuana were being funneled into Kentucky from Texas. A dozen law enforcement agencies were involved in the investigation including the Danville police department.

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