Fulcher is Accused of Running Drug Ring in Prison!

Fulcher is Accused of Running Drug Ring in Prison!
Posted by FoM on July 07, 1999 at 06:31:11 PT
Trial postponed for ex-informant 
Source: The Roanoke Times
Defense attorneys believe tapes of his calls from prison will prove the DEA knew of his undercover work a year before state authorities began investigating.
The trial of a former Drug Enforcement Administration informant turned convicted thief, who is accused of running a marijuana ring inside a state prison, has been postponed.   Michael Fulcher, his wife Rosanna and his mother Ethel, were set to go to trial Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Roanoke. But Tuesday morning, Judge Jackson Kiser granted a defense attorneys' motion to continue the case because they hadn't been able to listen to hundreds of hours of taped telephone conversations made at Bland Correctional Center that might help the Fulchers.   "I share your skepticism of the usefulness of the evidence," Kiser told Assistant U.S. Attorney Joe Mott, who opposed the delay. But the risk that a conviction could be overturned on appeal if the tapes are later found to contain evidence favorable to the defense warrants a postponement, Kiser ruled.   Fulcher, 40, is charged with operating a drug and money laundering conspiracy from his Bland prison cell that involved four guards, nine inmates and eight relatives of inmates. He, his wife and his mother claim the ring was actually an undercover operation to help net dirty correctional officers in exchange for a reduced sentence for Fulcher. After years as a government operative, Fulcher was convicted in 1992 in Bedford County for various thefts and sentenced to 48 years in prison.   Defense attorneys believe the tapes of Fulcher's calls from prison will prove the DEA knew of his undercover work in 1996, a year before state authorities began investigating. They believe the tapes also will show Rosanna Fulcher knew nothing of the drug trafficking, while Ethel Fulcher's only involvement was to help her son's work.   However, they haven't been able to listen to the tapes because the private company that handled Bland's phone system, Gateway Technology, hasn't given them access to its recording equipment. Kiser said Tuesday he will order the company to do so.   The trial is now scheduled for Aug. 16 and is expected to last two weeks.Wednesday, July 07, 1999 By MICHAEL HEMPHILL THE ROANOKE TIMES
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