Crime

Three men face charges in swap of meth, cash for cocaine

Keon Hawkins
Keon Hawkins

A federal grand jury has indicted three men said to be involved in a 5-kilo cocaine deal with a swap for crystal meth and cash that didn’t go as planned.

The dealer and his associate were undercover officers in an investigation that began in January, a Homeland Security Investigations agent said in his affidavit.

Federal agents had heard Keon Hawkins of Bay St. Louis was looking for a cocaine supplier and he thought he had found one July 13 in a meeting at the Island View Casino, the agent said.

According to the agent’s statement, Hawkins wanted to buy five kilos of cocaine, but told the supplier he had cash for only two kilos for a total of $56,000. He offered to provide nine pounds of crystal meth in exchange for the other three kilos of cocaine.

Hawkins, 36, faces a three-count indictment along with Michael Denham II, 31, of Waveland, and Sean Ufland, 28, of North Bergen, New Jersey.

They will be arraigned Sept. 22 in U.S District Court.

How HSI says it unfolded

Ufland has told Drug Enforcement Administration agents Denham introduced him to Hawkins and said Denham paid for Ufland and Hawkins to fly to Oakland, California, to arrange a crystal meth deal, the agent said.

The meth was shipped to the Home 2 Suites hotel in Gulfport, where Denham had rented a hotel room. Denham allegedly has admitted he drove Hawkins to the casino Aug. 13 and said he knew Hawkins had a package of meth.

The deal ended when an undercover Gulfport police officer in an unmarked car popped the hood of his trunk as Hawkins handed him a bag of meth and Hawkins took a bag of what he believed was cocaine, the agent said. Hawkins was arrested as he walked away.

Denham was taken into custody in a traffic stop in Waveland. Ufland was arrested at the hotel room in Gulfport.

An indictment unsealed Sept. 7 charged each of them with conspiracy, possession with intent to distribute meth and attempt to possess with intent to distribute cocaine.

Robin Fitzgerald: 228-896-2307, @robincrimenews

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