‘Crack ring leader’ sentenced to 24 years in prison

Published 5:08 pm Friday, February 29, 2008

‘Crack ring leader’ sentenced to 24 years in prison

NATCHEZ (AP) — Michael Tyler, identified by prosecutors as a one-time drug kingpin in Vicksburg, has been sentenced to 24 years in federal prison.

Tyler, 35, was arrested as part of a June multi-agency drug sweep and pleaded guilty in October to conspiracy to distribute cocaine.

Tyler was sentenced Tuesday to 292 months by U.S. District Judge David Bramlette during a hearing in Natchez.

Bramlette also ordered that Tyler’s prison term be followed by five years of post-release supervision and that he be fined $1,500. Tyler could have been sentenced to life in prison.

Authorities said Tyler and others charged in the investigation were responsible for most of the crack distributed in Vicksburg. More than 17 pounds of crack was being dealt every month, authorities had estimated.

Tyler was one of nine defendants facing federal indictments from the June drug bust.

Others who have been sentenced are Christopher Shaun Walker, 29; Tommie Shepherd, 46; and Larry Jones, 31. All three pleaded guilty to possession with intent to distribute and were sentenced by Bramlette to serve five years in prison.

Kenny Tyler, the 35-year-old brother of Michael Tyler; Keafur Wallace, 25; and Cadie Mae Bunch, 28, are scheduled to be sentenced March 18. All three pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute cocaine. Charles Price, 53, face an April 17 court date.

The only defendant to request a trial was John Dillard, 61, who is charged with possession of cocaine with intent to distribute. His trial is scheduled for next week.