Natchez man pleads guilty in 2018 raid that seized drugs, weapons, $1 million
Published 2:27 pm Monday, April 29, 2019
NATCHEZ — A Natchez man who had more than $1 million in cash in his house when law enforcement raided it March 2, 2018, pleaded guilty in federal court Monday to four counts, including possession and intended distribution of heroine, cocaine and methamphetamine.
Kevin Singleton, 41, pleaded guilty before Judge David C. Bramlette on Monday morning in U.S. Southern District Court Western Division as approximately 30 family members and friends filled the courtroom, some clasping their hands in front of their faces in prayer, others with their heads bowed.
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“We love you, Kevin,” said a person in the courtroom when a U.S. Marshal ushered Singleton, who was wearing an orange sweat suit emblazoned on the back with “Madison County Jail,” into the courtroom.
As part of a plea agreement with the U.S. Attorney’s office, Bramlette said, Singleton had agreed to plead guilty to counts 1, 8, 11 and 13 of a March 20, 2018, indictment.
After ensuring Singleton was competent, understood the proceedings, was satisfied with his legal representation, E. Carlos Tanner III of Jackson, and was entering guilty pleas of his own free will, Bramlette read the counts to the court.
Count 1, Bramlette said, was conspiracy to violate the controlled substance laws, specifically possessing with intent to distribute cocaine hydrochloride. Maximum penalty if convicted at trial, Bramlette said, would be no less than 10 years minimum and maximum life in prison with a possible fine of up to $10 million and five years post-release supervision.
Count 8, Bramlette said, was possession of heroine, more than 100 grams, with intent to distribute. Maximum penalty if convicted at trial, Bramlette said, would be no less than five years in prison and no more than 40 years in prison and a possible fine of up to $5 million.
Count 11, Bramlette said, was possession of 50 grams or more of methamphetamine with intent to distribute. Maximum penalty if convicted at trial, Bramlette said, would be no less than 10 years to life in prison and a possible fine of up to $10 million.
Count 18, Bramlette said, was possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime of possession of controlled substance with intent to distribute. Maximum penalty if convicted at trial, Bramlette said, is no less than five years and a possible fine of up to $250,000.
“These sentences could run concurrent,” Bramlette said in making sure Singleton understood the charges against him. Bramlette told Singleton that federal sentencing does not allow early release, such as parole and would carry post-release supervision requirements after time is served.
Bramlette asked Singleton if he understood that as part of the plea agreement, he would waive his right to withdraw his guilty pleas, any right to appeal sentencing or forfeiture of property seized. Also, Bramlette said convicted felons lose rights to vote, possess firearms and run for office.
Bramlette said under a plea agreement, sentencing would take into account mandatory minimum and maximums but would use those only as a guide.
Singleton said he understood all of that information.
Bramlette then asked lead U.S. Attorney on the case, Carla J. Clark, to read the charges and any evidence the federal government had on each of the counts to which Singleton was pleading.
The charges were included in the March 20, 2018, indictment following a lengthy investigation that was initiated by the Adams County Sheriff’s Office and spread throughout the nation, including several states as far away as California, said Adams County Sheriff Travis Patten.
Multiple agencies also were involved in the investigation, prosecutors said, including the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics, the Adams County Sheriff’s Office, the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosives, the U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General and the U.S. Marshals Service.
Clark said the government had a wiretap on five telephones, including two used by Singleton, and others by his associates.
Clark said narcotics trafficking activity was monitored on all five telephones, including the following statements attributed to Singleton:
“I’ve got one good round left in me. I’m going to crank back up for a minute. Take back over,” Clark said Singleton was on record saying in a captured telephone conversation with an associate.
On Nov. 7, 2017, Clark said law enforcement officers witnessed a drug transaction between Singleton and another individual, and officers followed the vehicle after leaving the transaction, pulled the driver over, searched the vehicle and seized a large quantity of cocaine hydrochloride.
Agents, Clark said, confiscated the drugs and did not make an arrest at the time but continued to monitor Singleton’s telephone conversations and recorded one in which the associate told Singleton that law enforcement had confiscated the cocaine.
“He was concerned that some of the cops were narcotics officers,” Clark said of the telephone conversation.
During execution of a March 2, 2018, search warrant at Singleton’s residence, 301 Johnson St., Natchez, Clark said, officers seized packaging materials such as plastic bags, scales and $1,114,413 in cash stored in dresser drawers and containers in Singleton’s bedroom along with approximately 25.5 kilograms of cocaine hydrochloride, approximately 114.2 grams of heroin, and approximately 1.9 kilograms of methamphetamine with a substance purity of approximately 99%. Agents also seized three firearms, including a DPMS A-15 .223 semi-automatic rifle loaded with a high-capacity magazine holding 44 rounds of .223 caliber ammunition, with an additional magazine loaded with 30 rounds of .223 ammunition and 66 additional rounds of .223 caliber ammunition. Also seized was a Glock .40 caliber handgun loaded with 13 rounds of .40 caliber ammunition with an additional Glock magazine loaded with 12 rounds of .40 caliber ammunition, and 12 additional rounds of .40 caliber boxed ammunition. A Smith & Wesson .38 Special +P revolver was also seized.
Singleton, prosecutors said, is a previously convicted felon and is prohibited from possessing a firearm.
Clark said Singleton’s residence also had nine security cameras monitoring both inside and outside of the house.
“Singleton was not home when the search warrant was served,” Clark said, adding that officers intercepted a telephone conversation Singleton was having with an associate during the search that indicated he was monitoring the search live via the security cameras.
“They got me, Holmes,” Clark said Singleton is captured on tape saying. “They all up in my s—. I’m going to have to turn myself in.”
Clark said, however, that Singleton did not turn himself in, and he was captured March 20, 2018, with $6,583 in cash, a Rolex watch, diamond earrings and a white gold diamond-encrusted cross pendant.
Singleton told Bramlette that he did not dispute any of what Clark had said and entered his guilty pleas to the four counts.
Singleton was remanded to custody and will be held until sentencing, which will be Aug. 13 in federal court in Natchez, Bramlette said.
Prosecutors said Singleton faces a maximum penalty of life in prison and a $10,000,000 fine followed by at least five years of supervised release for conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine.
Singleton faces the same maximum penalty for possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine, and he faces a maximum penalty of at least five years but not more than 40 years and a $5,000,000 fine for possession with intent to distribute heroine and a maximum penalty of not less than five years and/or $250,000 fine for possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.