, Corbin, KY

April 16, 2012

Meradith sentenced for Hodge drug ring

The Times-Tribune

CORBIN — April 14, 2012.pdf

By Carl Keith Greene/Staff Writer

James Meradith was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Gregory F. Van Tatenhove Friday morning to two years and nine months.

On Dec. 29, 2011, he pleaded guilty on one count of an indictment.

Meradith, 35, was part of a drug ring that included former Whitley County Sheriff Lawrence Hodge and drug pusher Charles Fritts, who on March 28, was sentenced to seven years and three months.

Meradith was included in the indictment regarding Charles Fritts’ brothers Doyle Stan-Boy Fritts and Jerry Lee Fritts.

Of the four counts in that indictment including Meradith, three were dismissed, leaving him charged with distributing oxycodone.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Sam Dobson suggested in his opening comments that Meradith’s sentence be in the lower part of the possible sentence.

He described Meradith as an “articulate young man.”

Meradith’s lawyer Willis Coffey explained as he opened his case that two cooperating witnesses bought some oxycodone from Meradith when Charles Fritts was absent.

Meradith had already spent about 12 months at the Pulaski County Detention Center, Coffey said and noted Meradith has a good past including college experience.

Van Tatenhove, who had said Meradith could have been sentenced to between 46 and 57 months,  sentenced Meradith to two years and nine months with three years of supervised release.

Meradith asked to be kept at the Pulaski site if possible.