Drug kingpin sentenced to life in prison
By By Suzanne Monk / managing editor
Sept. 6, 2003
A man convicted in federal court of transporting large amounts of cocaine and methamphetamine into Lauderdale County was sentenced Friday to life in prison.
The trial of Michael Lee Hodges was held in June before U.S. District Judge Tom S. Lee.
The jury found Hodges guilty of all 10 counts of the indictment against him. Five involved transport and sale of illegal drugs; five involved money-laundering.
Prosecutors said Hodges chose Lauderdale County as a base of operations because he had family in the area.
In addition to the life sentence, Hodges was ordered to forfeit more than $1.6 million in cash and assets made through the sale of drugs in Mississippi between 1987 and his arrest in 2002.
The judgment of forfeiture against Hodges also includes: property at 5706 Topton Road in Toomsuba; 15 vehicles and other personal property; and $20,000 seized from the Toomsuba property and accounts at Trustmark National Bank and Citizens National Bank.
Lampton said testimony at trial established that Hodges laundered more than $500,000 in drug money through his Meridian bank accounts.
Also included in the forfeiture are assets in San Diego, where Hodges had been living.
Five other people, all from East Central Mississippi, were also indicted in connection with the drug-trafficking ring: James Floyd Thompson, Kimberly R. Hancock, Angela Michelle Route, Johnny D. Brewster and Vivian C. Tingle.
All but Tingle pleaded guilty earlier this year and were sentenced to jail time. The indictment against Tingle was dismissed.
Agencies participating in the investigation included the IRS, the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics, the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the Drug Enforcement Administration.