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RICO defendant enters plea, to serve 8 years

The Jones County News of Gray, Georgia

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Part of top tier of 48 defendants from 2013 case

One of the few remaining defendants in ' a 2013 Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act case entered a guilty plea last week and received a 20-year sentence.

As part of plea negotiations with the state, Michelle Denise Beckum will serve the first eight years of the sentence in confinement and the remainder is to be served on probation.

Assistant District Attorney Dawn Baskin stated a big portion of the plea agreement was Beckum's agreement to testify at the trial of any co-defendants. She said the defendant was in the top tier of the drug distribution organization and worked directly with Robert Olin Rosser, who was the focus of the investigation that resulted in the Oct. 22, 2013, arrests of 48 individuals.

Baskin said approximately 10 of those defendants have not pled, including Rosser, who is incarcerated for probation violations.

According to a story about the RICO arrests in The Jones County News, the investigation was initiated by the Jones County Sheriff's Department in August of 2013, starting with a focus on Rosser, who lived in the northern portion of the county.

Surveillance showed a pattern of Rosser taking money to Beckum, who lived in Spalding County, and she would then drive to Cobb or Clayton counties to get the drugs.

Sheriff departments in Putnam and Baldwin counties joined the investigation of what turned out to be a drug distribution organization that dealt mostly with methamphetamine.

The investigation then extended to the counties of Wilkinson, Washington and Spalding. It revealed that persons from Jones, Baldwin and Washington counties were traveling to Griffin and the metro Atlanta area to obtain meth and then return to Middle Georgia to distribute it. As the investigation progressed, it also reached Jasper, Bibb, Butts and Monroe counties.

Beckum had been out on a $250,000 bond since Feb. 20, 2014, and was immediately taken into custody following last week's plea.

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Original Publication Date: November 4, 2015

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