By Fred Petke / Staff Writer
For four years, a drug ring based in Woodbine brought more than a ton of marijuana into Whitley County.
Four of the men charged with running the operations, including the main driver, are facing federal prison time after pleading guilty to the charges recently in London.
Jimmy Elliott, Jimmy Elliott, Jr., Terry Elliott and Donnie Burke all admitted their roles in the organization, which operated from Elliott Brothers’ Garage in Woodbine, according to court documents. The four were all charged with conspiring to possess and distribute marijuana for at least the last four years, beginning in January 2003.
Elliott Jr., 24, and Burke, 46, each said they brought 3,000 pounds of marijuana into Whitely County with the 50-year-old Elliott Sr. and 48-year-old Terry Elliott claiming 2,000 and 800 pounds respectively.
All four are scheduled to be sentenced on June 18 in U.S. District Court in London. Elliott Sr., Elliott Jr. and Burke could all receive between 10 years and life in prison plus a maximum $4 million fine, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Terry Elliott, who had less involvement, according to the plea agreement, could receive between five and 40 years in prison and up to a $2 million fine.
Burke was a driver for Jimmy Elliott Sr. and Elliott, Jr. and started making regular trips to Chicago to retrieve marijuana to be distributed in Whitley County. Every couple of weeks, Burke made the trip to Chicago, spent the night in a hotel and returned the following day. The car was loaded with marijuana during the night and Burke delivered the cars to the Elliotts’ garage, where others unloaded and broke the shipments into smaller quantities.
As the ring progressed, other sources were developed in Florida and Texas, again with Burke making many of the trips and the Elliotts distributing the drugs, according to the plea agreement.
Police raided the garage in September 2005 after agents watched Elliott Jr. retrieve marijuana from a car. At the time, Elliott Jr. said he sold marijuana to finance his racing career.
Authorities said the Elliotts suspended their operations after the raid, but Monty Hart resumed the trade in Texas with Burke as a driver. In December 2006, Hart began cooperating with law enforcement and set up an 80 pound marijuana deal with Elliott Jr., which led to his arrest.
By Fred Petke / Staff Writer
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