Courts news

A Rome man pleaded guilty in federal court Thursday, Sept. 19, to having more than 2 pounds of heroin.

Jesus Pineda-Pineda, 30, admitted to trafficking the drug under a plea agreement accepted by U.S. District Court Judge Steve C. Jones in Rome’s federal court.

His sentencing is scheduled for Dec. 16, as is Jones’ decision on Jennifer Lee Holmes, 43, who also entered a plea Thursday in connection with the case.

The two were indicted in May along with four others who are still awaiting trial.

U.S. Attorney Lisa Tarvin said Pineda was under observation on Nov. 28, 2018, when he emerged from a house in Rome with “a distinctive bag” and got into a conspirator’s vehicle. The man is identified in court documents as Vincetti Deun Daniel.

Pineda and Daniel were followed to Chattanooga and back, then were later stopped in Bartow County. There were 995.7 grams of heroin — equal to 2.19 pounds — in the distinctive bag, Tarvin said, along with $14,358 in cash in a separate green bag.

Daniel is facing 12 charges, including conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance.

Others indicted with him are Jeterus Lavee Wiley of Rome and Edward Antwan Jones and Marylin Rena Jones of Tennessee.

Conspiracy charges against Pineda were dropped as part of the plea agreement. He’s facing a minimum sentence of 5 years in prison. Tarvin did not offer a specific recommendation other than to use parameters below the maximum time of 40 years.

Holmes pleaded guilty to possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. She admitted going to a motel on April 14, 2018, at the direction of Wiley, to pick up his Smith & Wesson .40 caliber pistol. A full clip of ammunition was found on her person and the gun was reportedly stolen.

Tarvin recommended a sentence of 70 months — nearly six years in prison as opposed to a maximum of 10 years.

Holmes is the only one of the six associated defendants not indicted on the conspiracy charge.

The four remaining defendants are accused of working together to distribute heroin and methamphetamine as far back as September 2017.

Wiley is facing at least 14 charges involving the pistol, methamphetamine and the use of a communication device to talk with Daniel about the crimes.

Edward and Marylin Jones — her name is also spelled “Marilyn” in court documents — filed a motion this week to suppress evidence in their case. A decision is pending.

The two were stopped on July 16, 2018, by a Bartow County sheriff’s deputy who allegedly found more than 50 grams of meth during a search of their Mercedes S550.

The motion contends that the deputy illegally stopped them for failing to maintain a lane.

“The Mercedes S550 has lane assist, which does not allow for the car to touch the lane lines unless changing lanes,” the filing reads.

Consent to search the vehicle “was expressly refused,” the document states, yet the deputy called for additional officers and they conducted the search that turned up the drugs.

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