Dustin Powell accepts plea deal. Libby Denyer still has trial date.

Dustin Powell, who was facing trial on federal drug charges with former state worker Elizabeth “Libby” Denyer, has accepted a plea deal on a meth distribution charge.

Powell pleaded guilty Monday in U.S. District Court to a charge punishable by up to 20 years in prison.

He had faced 10 years to life in prison had he gone to trial.

Denyer, of Ocean Springs, is a former employee of the state Department of Marine Resources and the University of Southern Mississippi’s Cedar Point office in Ocean Springs. She also is the daughter of Ocean Springs Alderman Greg Denyer.

Denyer and Powell had been indicted on a charge alleging they had distributed 50 or more grams of meth in Jackson County since August 2014. Denyer also was indicted on a conspiracy charge.

Prosecutors later offered both a charge with lesser penalties.

Judge Sul Ozerden will sentence Powell on Jan. 27.

Denyer is still set for trial on indicted charges on a court calendar that starts Nov. 7.

Ozerden has allowed both of them to remain free on bond.

Michael Worrell, indicted with them, has pleaded guilty and will be sentenced in California.

Robin Fitzgerald: 228-896-2307, @robincrimenews