Trial begins in case of Greenwood police guns

Published 2:07 am Monday, June 15, 2009

JACKSON (AP) — It wasn’t exactly a brilliant plan, the way federal prosecutors describe it, when prison inmates decided to steal guns and pot from a police station in the Mississippi Delta.

Before it was over, eight people, including several prisoners, a janitor and a public works employee were facing federal charges related to the alleged conspiracy to steal five machine guns, 11 pistols and 90 pounds of marijuana from the Greenwood Police Department. All but one of them, inmate Andre Redmond, have pleaded guilty to various charges. Redmond’s trial was scheduled to begin Monday in U.S. District Court in Aberdeen. On Friday Judge Sharion Aycock denied a defense request to delay the trial.

Redmond is charged with conspiracy, possession of firearms by a convicted felon and aiding and abetting the theft of the pistols. Court officials expect the trial to last about four days.

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Redmond’s attorney has not responded to several messages left by The Associated Press.

Court records offer few details on the thefts of the machine guns and marijuana, but the alleged plot to steal the pistols was described in detail. Prosecutors say the conspiracy began sometime between September 2005 and January 2006 when several state inmates were assigned to work at the Greenwood Police Department and City Annex building.

The inmates noticed guns in a locked closet when they were escorted there to get supplies to perform their cleaning duties, according to a 16-page federal indictment. Two of them — Cedrick Lowery and Freddie ‘‘Fox’’ McGee — figured out a way to get into the closet by removing a ceiling tile in an adjacent room. Both men have pleaded guilty and await sentencing.

Lowery climbed into the closet and handed McGee 11 Smith & Wesson .40-caliber pistols, according to the indictment. They put the guns in a garbage bag and stashed them in a closet in City Hall.

Lowery allegedly called Redmond, who was part of the same community work program at the Leflore County Community Work Center and was serving a five-year sentence for accessory to auto theft. Redmond and his supervisor, a county public works employee, allegedly picked up the guns and later delivered them to Redmond’s girlfriend, according to the indictment.

The girlfriend, Jennifer L. McGee, pleaded guilty last week to knowing about a felony and not reporting the crime. Redmond hoped to sell the guns to his ‘‘Uncle Blood’’ from Chicago, and had McGee deliver them to a relative in Lexington, Miss., according to court records.

It’s not clear what happened next, but prosecutors say seven of the pistols have been recovered in Chicago.

Sometime between December 2005 and January 2006, prosecutors say Lowery and another inmate stole Colt M-16 machine guns. Authorities have not said what happened to those or the marijuana.