Benton, Ill. —
The first witness was called Tuesday morning in the federal drug-trafficking, weapons and witness-tampering trial of Gallatin County Sheriff Raymond Martin.
Jeremy Potts testified about his involvement in a marijuana business with Martin. His testimony will continue Tuesday afternoon - Potts is expected to be on the stand all day.
Potts was laid off around November 2008 and in need of money. About Thanksgiving, Martin arrived at Potts' mobile home to speak with him.
"I assumed he was there to question me, so I hopped in the vehicle to see what was going on," Potts said.
The topic went from casual conversation to possibly starting a marijuana business.
"He offered me a job, basically," Potts said.
They agreed Potts would sell marijuana provided by Martin, who would take his investment and half the profit from the money made through sales.
Martin told Potts never to mention the arrangement to anyone else, according to Potts' testimony.
Martin delivered marijuana to Potts several times. Potts sold the marijuana and gave Martin's investment and profit back.
Potts testified he was arrested on Jan. 24, 2009. He had gone to Carmi to get some Xanax with some of the profits from the drug business, Potts said. Martin had told him to go ahead and buy what he could with some of their recent profit. Potts went to a bar in Harrisburg to sell some of the Xanax, but discovered his father was working there as a disc jockey that night, which meant he couldn't sell anything. Potts testified he gave away a few so people would know he had a large amount to sell. He also took some and drank some beer. Potts then drove to Eldorado and got arrested.
The Xanax, about $1,200 and Potts' Kia were seized after the arrest. Martin helped arrange bond through Potts' girlfriend, Miranda Willis, who actually posted the bond. About half came from Martin, Potts testified.
Potts was in the Saline County Detention Center six days. A couple days after his release, Martin picked him up and they went for a ride through the country.
"He was really upset that day," Potts said.
Martin learned Potts had mentioned his name and their drug arrangement to his cellmate, Earl Kincaid, Potts testified.
"He had laid his revolver in his lap and informed me his name had been let out," Potts said.
Once he realized Potts was scared, Martin put away the revolver, Potts said.
Potts sold marijuana for a while longer to eliminate his debt to Martin, he testified. But Potts wanted out, and eventually talked to Martin about ending the arrangement in late March.
"I gave him a ton of excuses why," Potts said.
Martin threatened Potts with a stretch in prison or worse if he tried to leave the business, Potts said.
"He told me that was not an option and I could be eliminated," Potts said.
By Eric Fodor
Harrisburg Daily Register
Posted Sep 14, 2010 @ 12:24 PM
commet: "This sheriff is also on trial for hiring two jail inmates to kill witnesses in the case. His wife and son are also on trial for being accomplices in the murder for hire plot."
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