Appeals Court upholds conviction, sentence in drug trafficking case

Published 3:50 pm Friday, March 8, 2024

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

NATCHEZ — The state’s Court of Appeals has confirmed the conviction of Zachary Minor in Adams County Circuit Court.

Minor of Natchez was arrested along with Mario Hartwell on July 1, 2019, for possession of marijuana with intent to deliver, aggravated trafficking and conspiracy to traffic marijuana.

Minor was found guilty on Nov. 4, 2021, of possession with intent to deliver marijuana in an amount more than 250 grams and trafficking of more than 200 grams of tetrahydrocannabinol, also known as THC, in edible form.

Email newsletter signup

He was sentenced to serve 20 years in the Mississippi Department of Corrections with credit for time serve.

Sixth District Circuit Court Judge Debra Blackwell ordered Minor to serve 10 years of that sentence without benefit of parole or probation on the trafficking charges. The remaining 10 years she ordered suspended with the first five years to be served on formal reporting post-release supervision and the remaining five years to be served on non-reporting post-release supervision.

She also sentenced Minor to serve 10 years on the possession charges to be served concurrently with the first sentence.

Minor first made a motion for a new trial through his attorney Daniel Hinchcliff of the office of the state public defender, which was denied. Minor then appealed, claiming insufficient evidence of his conviction; inadmissible hearsay and violation of the Confrontation Clause; and prosecutorial misconduct.

After reviewing the case, the appeals court found no reversible error and affirmed Minor’s conviction.

On July 1, 2019, the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics received an anonymous tip that a package of marijuana and THC edibles was being shipped to an Adams County address.

When the package was delivered, agents conducted surveillance on the property and observed Minor and his alleged accomplice drive up in a vehicle with Hartwell retrieving the package of contraband.

Minor and the accomplice were indicted on two counts of conspiracy, one count of possession of marijuana with intent to distribute, and one count of trafficking THC.

Minor made a motion to sever his trial from that of his accomplice, which the Circuit Court granted.