Howard pleads not guilty to federal drug charges

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PIKEVILLE – A Magoffin County man pleaded not guilty to federal drug charges after being indicted, yet, again, for allegedly distributing quantities of oxycodone.

Gregory Howard, 44, of Salyersville, was arrested in March after a reported federal drug bust, with his probation officer petitioning the court to revoke his probation, citing four violations described as “commission of a crime – distribution of oxycodone.” The petition was granted by the court and a warrant of arrest was issued on the same day.

On May 25 a federal grand jury released an indictment, charging Howard with five counts alleging he  distributed quantities of oxycodone and possessed hydrocodone with the intent to distribute on various days in February and March.

The indictment also included forfeiture allegations, which would require Howard to forfeit $14,000 to the United States, a sum representing the gross proceeds obtained by Howard from the alleged drug sales. 

Given that he has a prior felony conviction, Howard is facing not more than 30 years imprisonment, not more than $2 million fines, not less than 6 years supervised release, a mandatory special assessment of $100 per count, forfeiture and restitution, if applicable, according to the indictment. 

Howard was on probation for a 2013 case where pleaded guilty (via a plea deal) to one count of distribution of oxycodone and sentenced to time served, three years supervised release and $100 special assessment. The charge carried a maximum sentence of not more than 20 years imprisonment, $1 million fine and three years supervised release.

On Monday, June 5, Howard pleaded not guilty to the new charges, with a jury trial scheduled for Monday, August 7 at 9 a.m. in Pikeville. The estimated length of the trial is five days, according to the minute entry of the arraignment hearing held on Monday.

After the hearing, Howard was remanded to the custody of the United States Marshal, pending further order of the court. At press time, he is being held at the Carter County Detention Center.

Editor's Note: The indictment or charge of a person by a grand jury or otherwise is an accusation only and that person is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.