The Richmond Register

July 28, 2013

Couple enters guilty plea to trafficking of pot

By Sarah Hogsed
Register News Writer

RICHMOND — A 60-year-old man who was arrested on a marijuana trafficking charge while another drug trafficking case was pending against him pleaded guilty in both cases Friday.

Billy Paul Graham, Sand Ridge Road, entered guilty pleas in Madison Circuit Court to two counts of trafficking in more than 5 pounds of marijuana.

The commonwealth’s attorney recommended a sentence of five years on the first charge and one year on the second count. The years must be served consecutively, for a total of six years in prison, because Graham was on home incarceration when he was arrested the second time.

A co-defendant in the first arrest, 43-year-old Melonie Cole, also pleaded guilty Friday to trafficking more than 5 pounds of marijuana. Her recommended sentence was five years in prison.

The maximum sentence for trafficking in that quantity of marijuana is 10 years. The two will be eligible for parole after serving 20 percent, or one year, of their sentences.

The Madison County Sheriff’s Office arrested Graham and Cole on July 18, 2012, following the traffic stop of a vehicle driven by Cole.

The sheriff’s office K-9 made a sweep of the vehicle and alerted, indicating there were drugs present, according to an MSO news release.

Approximately 4 pounds of marijuana were found in the vehicle.

The sheriff’s deputies went to Graham’s home at 290 Sand Ridge Road, and Graham gave them permission to search the home. The deputies reported finding 1.5 pounds of marijuana there along with $10,000 in cash and a loaded handgun.

Graham was released July 23, 2012, on a $5,000 unsecured, third-party bond with home incarceration.

On May 8, the sheriff’s office conducted a home-incarceration inspection of Graham’s residence and found more than a pound of processed marijuana.

Graham has remained in jail since his second arrest.

Cole and Graham are scheduled to be sentenced at 9 a.m. Sept. 27 in Madison Circuit Court.

Sarah Hogsed can be reached at shogsed@richmondregister.com or 624-6694.