Whitesburg KY

Federal grand jury indict two Jenkins men on several charges

A federal grand jury has charged two Letcher County men with conspiring to distribute more than 2,200 pounds of marijuana during a two-year period that ended on December 21.

A six-count indictment returned by a U.S. District Court grand jury in Pikeville last week charges that Jeremy Stewart and John H. Bentley, both of Jenkins, violated interstate commerce laws by buying marijuana in Oklahoma and Texas and bringing it back to Kentucky to sell. At least $1 million exchanged hands while the conspiracy took place between January 2007 and December 21, 2008, the grand jury charges.

The indictment, filed January 15, says that on August 15, 2008, Jeremy Stewart drove to Texas and bought $283,210 worth of marijuana for distribution in eastern Kentucky.

The indictment says that last month, Bentley drove from Pike County to Texas to buy marijuana, and that he and Stewart “did knowingly and intentionally attempt to possess with the intent to distribute” 220 pounds of marijuana during a threeday period ending December 22.

Stewart and Bentley are charged with “conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute marijuana and aiding and abetting,” and with “transporting with intent to promote distribution of marijuana.”

The indictment says that in addition to the $1 million grossed during the conspiracy, the following properties, all of which the government wants forfeited, were obtained “as a result of the commission” of the marijuana crimes:

• a 2006 Ford Mustang GT Saleen

• a Honda Aquatrax F- 12X jet ski with trailer

• a 2007 Kawasaki Ninja motorcycle

• a 2007 Chevrolet Silverado 2500 pickup truck

Two Norinco rifles, three Remington rifles with scopes, a Winchester rifle with a scope, a Harrington and Richardson rifle with a scope, a Remington shotgun, and a Browning .22 pistol were also obtained during the two-year period, the jury says.

If convicted of the conspiracy charges against them, Stewart and Bentley could be sentenced to not less than 10 years in prison nor more than life imprisonment. They could also be ordered to pay $4 million in fines.

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