Man found innocent of drug charges

Published 11:00 pm Thursday, August 2, 2012

Written by Whitley Kilcrease

A U.S District Court Jury in Montgomery has acquitted a local man charged with conspiracy and drug trafficking charges.

Cedrin Farrod Carter, 28, of Brundidge was found not guilty on one count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute more than 280 grams of crack and powder cocaine, as well as three related counts of unlawful use of a communication facility in conjunction with accomplishing conspiracy objectives.

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According to Richard Keith, defense attorney for Carter, the three-day trial was presided over by Judge Myron H. Thompson and saw evidence presented against Carter, including more than two hours of recorded wire-tapped cell phone conversations between the defendant and two co-defendants, Eric Jerome Parker, 29, of Troy, and Jeffery Nolan Bennett, 26, of Troy. DEA case agents and the two co-defendants also testified.

Keith said jurors deliberated more than two hours before reaching a unanimous verdict of not guilty, citing a lack of evidence associating Carter with other conspirators. Had he been found guilty, the verdict would have carried a sentence of mandatory life in prison.

“We had several plea offers from the government, but we turned them down and went to trial,” Keith said.

“I can’t speak for Mr. Carter, but I know he’s incredibly relieved to be acquitted since he was facing life in prison.”

Keith said Carter had been released to the Pike County Jail, where he is currently being detained for a parole violation, although he said the charge would likely be dismissed as part of his acquittal.

Carter was arrested, along with nine other individuals, in November 2011 as part of an investigation by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration with assistance from the U.S. Marshals Service, the Troy Police, Greenville Police, Houston County Sheriff’s Department, Alabama State Troopers and the Alabama Alcoholic Beverage Control Board.

Individuals arrested included Carter, Parker and Bennett, as well as Willie Charles Townsend, 34, of Fairburn, Ga.; Christopher Darrin Alloway, 22, of Troy; Jason Terrell Davenport, 20, of Troy; Ronisha Rawshon Carter, 20, of Troy; Willie Pereze Boggan, 27, of Greenville; Brian Javoris Walker, 29, of Greenville; and Kelvin Dewayne Anderson, 32, of Dothan.

The men were indicted by a federal grand jury, with Cedrin Carter, Bennett, Boggan and Parker facing mandatory life sentences if convicted.

According to Keith, the nine other individuals involved in the conspiracy case agreed to plea bargains, which included guilty pleas and testimonies in exchange for less severe penalties. He said they have yet to be sentenced.