Crime

He wanted to swap meth for cash so he could buy cocaine. Now he’s going to prison.

Roland Jackson
Roland Jackson

A man who grew up in Pass Christian has been sentenced to 20 years in prison for trafficking meth as part of a cocaine deal that fizzled out in a casino parking lot.

Roland Jackson, 27, of Hancock County has admitted he flew to Oakland, California, on Aug. 7, 2016, and pooled his money with Keon Hawkins to help pay for and package meth that was shipped to a Gulfport hotel and taken to the Island View Casino’s parking lot for sale, a court paper said.

Jackson must also pay a $3,000 fine for possession with intent to distribute meth, U.S. District Judge Sul Ozerden wrote in a judgment filed Friday. Ozerden also ordered three years of probation.

In discussions about drug deals “over the years,” Jackson and Hawkins were told the meth was made in California and the cocaine was from New York, Jackson wrote in an affidavit.

Hawkins, 36, of Bay St. Louis, had unknowingly struck a deal with an undercover agent at the Island View, according to a Homeland Security Investigations agent who investigated the case as part of the DEA’s High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Task Force.

An undercover agent had met with Hawkins at the Island View on July 13, 2016, and told him he was looking for cocaine, court documents show. They negotiated a price of $28,000 per kilo of cocaine.

Hawkins had planned to buy five kilos of cocaine but didn’t have enough money, legal documents said. He negotiated a deal to swap nine kilos of meth and $56,000 for the cocaine. Hawkins had estimated the meth would be valued at $9,000 per pound for a total value of $81,000.

Hawkins was arrested Aug. 13, 2016, as he pulled out cocaine for the swap in the Island View parking lot. Jackson fled when he learned two other men in the scheme had been arrested.

Jackson was arrested in Pearlington on Feb. 9. Agents seized a Glock .40-caliber pistol, a Stay-15 .556-caliber rifle and $9,000 in cash.

Jackson pleaded guilty April 27 and was sentenced Sept. 22.

Hawkins is serving a 20-year prison term. He was fined $5,000 and forfeited a 2005 Chevrolet Camaro, a 1987 Buick Regal and $3,900, court records show.

Michael Denham II, 31, of Waveland, is serving a prison term of 19 years and seven months. He was fined $5,000 and forfeited $4,511.

Sean Ufland, 28, of North Bergen, New Jersey, is serving nine years and six months.

Hawkins, Denham and Ufland were charged in an indictment separately from Jackson. All four accepted a guilty plea on a bill of information.

Robin Fitzgerald: 228-896-2307, @robincrimenews

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