GRAVEL SWITCH, Ky. (AP) -- Federal agents and state police continue
to investigate an eastern Kentucky-based marijuana operation
authorities say reaches into Indiana.
A total of 10 people including ringleader Michael Hays and his wife,
Trena, have pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court to taking part in
the operation. Prosecutors say the operation has generated about $4
Hays' empire was based in a rural area near the line between Boyle
and Marion counties. But when an employee shot Michael Hays and
revealed details of the drug operation to police, it fell apart.
What authorities are investigating now is who killed Russell "Rusty"
Marshall, a man who sold marijuana for Hays.
Last Tuesday, David Scott Miller became the only defendant so far to
escape conviction when a federal jury found him not guilty of money
laundering and being involved in the marijuana operation.
David Scott Miller's attorney told a jury last week that he thinks
more people will be charged in the marijuana conspiracy.
"Justice may be done when Rusty Marshall's killer is brought to trial
and other people involved will be brought to trial," David Guarnieri
David Scott Miller's father, William David Miller, still faces
attempted murder charges in connection with Michael Hays' shooting in
"This is definitely a significant drug conspiracy operation (as
evidenced) by the resources they obtained and the way they were able
to conceal what they were doing," Assistant U.S. Attorney Ron Walker
said last week.
William David Miller testified in U.S. District Court that he met
Hays through hunting and horse pulls and worked for him in the
marijuana business. His daughter, Beverly Hall, and his son-in-law,
Frank Hall, lived on Hays' tenant farm. Miller said that Frank Hall
came to him and said he had "gotten in over his head" with Hays, and
that Hays was "a big drug grower" and had held a loaded gun to Frank
William David Miller told the jury that Hays was a dangerous man who
refused to let Beverly Hall out of the marijuana operation and who
made vague threats against William David Miller's family.
At a gas station on April 24, Hays reached toward his pocket and
William David Miller thought he was going for the gun again, so
Miller shot Hays before walking away.
William David Miller said he spent the night in a calf shelter, then
went to a house and asked a woman inside to call police.
Walker said William David Miller told police about the marijuana
operation and suggested that Rusty Marshall might be missing. That
information led to other interviews with suspects, who talked about
the operation. On May 3, authorities executed a search warrant on the
Hays' Boyle County farm and then executed a search warrant on Hays'
Indiana farm, where Marshall's body was found on May 7.
William David Miller told authorities that he worked for Hays
stripping marijuana for $70 a pound, and had told police that Hays
was a drug dealer and member of the Cornbread Mafia, a name given to
a domestic marijuana-cultivating operation, according to court
Guarnieri convinced a federal jury last week that Miller could not
have been involved in the operation because he was so poor that he
lived with his in-laws for nearly 12 years and paid $50 a month for a
car at a buy here-pay here lot.
Copyright 2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
Michael Hays is confined to home detention and electronic monitoring
at a mobile home on his parents' property near Parksville in Boyle
County. He still has fragments of two bullets in his neck from the
shooting, and his mother testified in federal court that he needs
assistance eating, bathing and dressing.