Drug test result delays hearing



Pope County woman facing multiple counts in a drug conspiracy indictment linked to a white supremacist gang was scheduled to plead guilty in federal judge on Friday, but her hearing was delayed after being tested positive for methamphetamine use according to a pre-hearing drug screen.

Lesa Standridge, 56, of Dover, has been charged with Conspiracy to Distribute Methamphetamine, Possession with Intent to Distribute Methamphetamine, Being a Criminal in Possession of a Firearm and Possession of a firearm in connection with a drug trafficking crime.

U.S. District Judge Brian Miller has ordered another hearing to be scheduled when a negative drug test is obtained and ordered that Standridge be taken into custody by the US Marshals Service until a new hearing is programmed.

Standridge has been out on bail since she was bailed with conditions on October 13, 2017. She was initially arrested on the indictment two days earlier by federal authorities.

Standridge is one of 44 people originally indicted in a federal drug trafficking investigation that began in Pope County in 2016 when authorities began investigating crimes in the New Aryan Empire, a group of white supremacists that started as a prison gang in the 1990s but spread beyond the prison walls when the members were released and returned home.

Eventually, two substitute indictments brought the list of defendants to 55, with 17 of the defendants charged with crimes other than drug trafficking to include racketeering and numerous crimes of violence, including kidnapping, dismemberment, assault and attempted murder in favor of racketeering.

To date, 16 defendants have been sentenced to prison terms ranging from three to 35 years. An accused was sentenced to a completed sentence. The longest sentence has been handed out to the outside president of the New Aryan Empire, Wesley Gullett, 31, of Russellville, who was sentenced to 35 years in prison last month and then an additional 18 months for a 2019 escape from the Jefferson County Jail.

Marcus Millsap, 53, of Danville and Christopher Buber, 35, of Russellville are the latest defendants to stand trial. The two face charges of racketeering and drug conspiracy. Another accused, Troy Loadholdt, 39, of Russellville, is a fugitive. Loadholdt is charged with conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine.

The other defendants have pleaded guilty and are awaiting sentencing.


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