Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Local News

May 8, 2014

Pill-trafficking defendants to be sentenced

ASHLAND — Two of the three defendants in what authorities said was a major pill-trafficking network that stretched from Las Vegas to Carter County will learn their fates on Monday.

Scott Gilliam, 42, and Brandon Logan, 28, are scheduled to be sentenced by U.S. District Judge David L. Bunning.

The third defendant, Michael Scott Logan, 38, Brandon Logan’s uncle, also was originally scheduled to be sentenced on Monday, but his sentencing was pushed back to Sept. 8 at the government’s request, according to court records.

Brandon Logan’s sentencing is scheduled for 11:30 a.m.; Gilliam’s for noon.

All three defendants pleaded guilty in January to conspiracy to distribute oxycodone. The charge carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a $1 million fine. However, the recommended sentencing guidelines for each defendant vary depending on the numbers of pills they are responsible for trafficking.

According to Bunning, Michael Logan was responsible for the largest number of pills trafficked of the three — 10,000 to 15,000 — and thus has the highest base-offense level. That is expected to result in a recommended sentence of between 87 and 108 months, the judge said.

The guidelines are expected to be roughly the same for both Gilliam and Brandon Logan, 70 to 87 months, Bunning said. Gilliam’s responsibility is 4,900 pills, while Brandon Logan’s is more than 1,000. However, Brandon Logan will receive a two-level increase for firearms possession, according to the judge. Police found a Glock pistol during a search of his residence. The search also turned up notebooks and ledgers with records of drug transactions.

The firearms stipulation also renders Brandon Logan ineligible to receive a sentencing level reduction known as the “safety valve,” which is granted to some defendants who meet certain criteria. Gilliam and Michael Logan both could qualify for it.

In a sentencing memorandum filed on Gilliam’s behalf, attorney Michael Fox of Olive Hill argues his client should receive a two-level downward adjustment for playing a minor role in the conspiracy, which would result in a guideline range of 46 to 57 months.

“A sentence at the low end of the guidelines is more than sufficient in this matter,” Fox wrote.

According to Fox, Gilliam got hooked on pain pills when he began taking them to relieve chronic back and knee pain he experiences as a result of working in construction, pouring and finishing concrete, for more than 20 years. That led him to obtain oxycodone from Michael Logan, whom Fox described as a “lifelong friend” of his client.

Michael Logan didn’t charge Gilliam for the pills, so, in return, Gilliam offered to help Michael Logan by storing pills and money for him to prevent him from being robbed, Fox wrote. Gilliam also assisted Michael Logan on a few occasions by packing or unpacking pills and money Logan was exchanging with his connection in Las Vegas.

“This is the sum and substance of Scott’s entire involvement with this relatively large enterprise,” Fox wrote.

Gilliam is the former pastor of Perry’s Branch Holiness Tabernacle, which neighbors say closed down about a year and a half ago. Authorities said the church building was used as a “stash house” and a search of the building turned up a cache of approximately 2,400 30-milligram oxycodone tablets.

However, Fox wrote, while Gilliam doesn’t deny storing pills in the building, it should also be noted the structure wasn’t being used as a church at the time and was “dilapidated” and “unsuitable for occupation by anyone.

“Scott is a man of faith and recognizes that his decisions were wrong, but he did not and would not have placed controlled substances in the building if it were being used as a church,” the memo states.

Numerous friends and family members of Gilliam’s — including his wife and two children — wrote letters to Bunning urging him to show leniency when sentencing Gilliam.

The indictment of the Logans and Gilliam was the result of a more than 18-month undercover investigation involving the FADE Drug Enforcement Task Force, the Drug Enforcement Administration and Immigration and Customs Enforcement. More than $1 million in cash and other assets were seized during the course of the investigation.

The dealings of the Logans and Gilliam are linked to the those of a Las Vegas man, Jarral Perkins. The pills the defendants trafficked were allegedly shipped to them by Perkins from Nevada via UPS and FedEx. The defendants would repackage the pills for resale and, upon selling them, send Perkins’ share of the proceeds back to him via the same shipping services or the U.S. Mail.

The operation was uncovered in June 2012 when FADE officers made a traffic stop near Olive Hill and recovered 28 oxycodone pills from the vehicle. The driver identified Brandon Logan as the source of the pills, which led to the search of his residence.

While officers were executing the warrant, Michael Logan showed up at the residence. A search of his person resulted in officers finding an envelope with notations of money sent to Perkins as payment for pills received and another piece of paper containing amounts of pills distributed.

A later search of Michael Logan’s residence resulted in the seizure of 28 oxycodone pills, $34,960 in cash, candles, wax and containers used to ship the pills from Las Vegas, drug paraphernalia and receipts for packages sent by Michael Logan to Perkins.

Perkins was indicted in July 2012 on charges to conspiracy to distribute oxycodone and conspiracy to money-laundering. His case is still pending.

KENNETH HART can be reached at khart@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2654.

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