Feds, State Police Investigate Kentucky-Based Drug Ring
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 million.
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 said.
David Scott Miller's father, William David Miller, still faces attempted murder charges in connection with Michael Hays' shooting in Indiana.
"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 Hall's head.
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 records.
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.
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.