Antidepressants were in ex-sheriff's cell

Thursday, December 6, 2012

ST. LOUIS -- A former Illinois sheriff illegally hoarded antidepressants as he awaited resentencing in a drug and foiled murder-for-hire case, demonstrating his continued disregard for the law and underlining the need for a harsh sentence, a federal prosecutor said.

Police tests of the pills found Oct. 30 in former Gallatin County Sheriff Raymond Martin's cell showed them to be three antidepressants, federal prosecutor James Cutchin wrote in a court filing Tuesday. A white powder also found in his Southern Illinois' Williamson County jail turned out to be prescription medication.

Martin was sentenced in January 2011 to two life sentences on weapons charges, along with several lesser prison terms.

The Chicago-based 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals threw out the life sentences in August, largely on a technicality. Federal prosecutors will press for the life terms Friday.

Martin, 50, had been prescribed two of the drugs, Cutchin wrote, but federal inmates are barred from possessing medications and must rely on medical staff to give them supervised doses.

Cutchin said Martin admitted he acquired the drugs illegally while in federal lockups before he was returned to the Illinois jail. Prosecutors plan to argue during Martin's resentencing hearing Friday in Benton, Ill., that the drug stash demonstrates he flouts the law.

The drug issue may test the patience of U.S. District Judge J. Phil Gilbert, who again will sentence Martin on Friday. When ordering Martin imprisoned for life nearly two years ago, Gilbert admonished the ex-sheriff as "nothing but a common thief and thug who disregarded the very laws that [he] swore to uphold, defend, protect and honor."

A federal jury convicted Martin in September 2010 after witnesses testified that he supplied a drug dealer with marijuana, some pilfered from his department's evidence locker, then threatened to kill the dealer when he said he wanted out of the deal. Investigators said the dealer let authorities record his conversations with Martin -- a Democrat who had been re-elected four times -- for several weeks because he was scared of the lawman's threats.

Authorities said even after his arrest, Martin masterminded a scheme to have two potential witnesses assaulted and possibly killed. Neither was harmed because a would-be assassins got cold feet and told authorities.

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