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Filed 05/18/2006 Updated after 4PM for next day...
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Today’s News Headlines from Alabama 810 News 

  • Three East Alabama men among those sentenced in drug ring
  • Weaver woman charged in Jacksonville burglary
  • Gadsden man jailed for lying about felony conviction
  • UAW authorizes strike against Delphi

 

Three East Alabama men among those sentenced in drug ring 

 Sentencing hearings are being held this week in U.S. District Court in Rome, Georgia  for some of 25 defendants charged in  a Cedartown-based drug ring that prosecutors say had buyers stacked up “like a deli line.” Philip Wayne Erwin of Cedartown, Georgia,  who has signed a guilty plea admitting to using a gun during drug trafficking, was sentenced Monday morning to serve five years in prison. Monday afternoon, three Alabama men appeared before U.S. District Judge Harold L. Murphy in Rome to receive their sentences: seven years and three months for Jerry Edwards of Borden Springs, five years and three months for Charles Motes of Jacksonville and six years and eight months for David Lee Bell of Muscadine Junction.  All three men pleaded guilty to participating in a scheme to possess controlled substances with the intent to distribute, a charge that normally carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years, but they received reduced punishments in exchange for their acceptance of responsibility and cooperation with the government. The charges stem for an indictment issued in April 2005 implicating 25 men and women in a drug ring that allegedly circulated large quantities of methamphetamine, marijuana and prescription drugs between July 2001 and January 2005. The drugs, including at least 600 pounds of methamphetamines, were allegedly taken from Cedartown to Northeast Alabama for further distribution and resale. Five of the defendants named in the case are still at large, according to Assistant U.S. Attorney Kim Dammers. The remaining 20 defendants have all pleaded guilty. Sentencing for 11 other defendants are scheduled for today. Meanwhile, still awaiting trial are 30 alleged members of the same gang accused of a number of other crimes: murder, arson, racketeering, possession and trafficking of methamphetamine, cocaine and marijuana with the intent to distribute, kidnapping, extortion and the trafficking and harboring of illegal immigrants.

 

 

Weaver woman charged in Jacksonville burglary 

A 40 year old Weaver woman has been arrested on first degree burglary charges.  According to Sheriff Larry Amerson, Pamela Denise Walker is charged with the May 11th burglary of a residence on Littlejohn Road in Jacksonville.  The owner of the residence received a call from Popcorns Gas Station stating that a woman was trying to cash a check on her account while officers were at the residence investigating the burglary.  Officers told the gas station employee to try to detain the woman until he got there.  The woman left but the employee did get a description of her vehicle and the tag number which resulted in Walkers arrest.  

  

Gadsden man jailed for lying about felony conviction 

Etowah County Circuit Judge Allen Millican ordered a juror to jail last week after he apparently lied about having a criminal record and knowing some of the people involved in a case.  Jurors already were deliberating in a drug distribution trial when Assistant District Attorney Marcus Reid said he got a tip that 54 year old Joseph Levern Wilson,  of Gadsden, had been convicted of felony theft in Etowah County in 1982.  A check of records confirmed the charge and a more thorough check of the National Crime Information Computer confirmed an outstanding warrant for a failure to appear in Georgia.  The trial of 31 year old Mark Arthur Smith,  began last Wednesday and potential jurors were asked questions under oath before the jury was selected. Some of the questions specifically addressed criminal history and knowledge of those involved in the case.  Under state law, a convicted felon cannot serve on a jury.  Once it was determined Wilson possibly had lied under oath, Judge Millican questioned him outside the presence of the other jurors. Wilson at first denied he had a criminal record, but later admitted it. An alternate juror was called in.  Millican ordered Wilson to serve five days in jail for contempt of court.

  

UAW authorizes strike against Delphi 

United Auto Workers members have voted to authorize a strike against auto parts supplier Delphi Corp., adding a new threat to already tense negotiations between the two sides and Delphi's former parent and largest customer General Motors Corp.  The UAW said Tuesday that more than 95 percent of members who voted approved the strike authorization.  UAW members had been expected to approve the measure, which allows the international union to call a strike against Delphi if it feels one is necessary as the two sides bargain over wages. UAW locals were required to complete voting by Sunday.  Delphi spokesman Lindsey Williams said the company intends to keep negotiating with the UAW.  "Their strike authorization vote doesn't change our strategy, and that strategy remains to get a consensual agreement with all of our unions and GM," Williams said.  The UAW is by far the largest of Delphi's six unions, representing 24,000 of the company's 33,000 U.S. hourly workers. The International Union of Electronic Workers-Communications Workers of America, which represents 8,000 workers, also has voted to authorize a strike.  The strike votes give Delphi's unions more weight in their ongoing wage negotiations with the company. Delphi, which filed for bankruptcy protection in October, has proposed cutting its U.S. hourly workers' wages from $27 an hour to $16.50 an hour, or as low as $12.50 an hour if GM doesn't agree to supplement those wages.  Delphi was in U.S. Bankruptcy Court last week asking Judge Robert Drain for permission to cancel its labor contracts after it failed to reach a deal with its unions and GM. Drain isn't expected to rule until next month, and even then, Delphi could continue to keep the contracts in place while negotiations continue.  The union said Tuesday that the vote gives it the ability "to call a strike should Delphi use its bankruptcy court proceedings to unilaterally impose changes to the UAW-Delphi collective bargaining agreements." The union had no other immediate comment.  A Delphi strike could harm Toyota Motor Corp., DaimlerChrysler AG's Chrysler Group and other automakers who depend on Delphi parts. But it could paralyze GM, which remains Delphi's largest customer. Analysts have said GM could lose up to $130 million a day during a strike.  Delphi operates a plant in Gadsden.
 
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