TUPELO – Randy Benham may be headed for a plea deal with the U.S. Attorney's Office related to a multi-state blackmarket tobacco operation, a federal court docket shows.
Dated Oct. 30, the entry shows Benham's name listed in the criminal docket but no details about the situation.
Benham of Memphis owned a warehouse at 120 N. Front St., Tupelo, before the U.S. government seized it as forfeit in a series of raids on the operations.
Jerry Burke of Tupelo, who sold the warehouse to Benham, is scheduled to plead guilty in U.S. District Court on Nov. 24 for his involvement with the case. Property forfeit documents accused Burke of continued activity with the operation, including flying a plane, after the transaction with Benham.
What Burke will plead to likely won't be known until then.
Sources close to the case, however, said weeks ago Burke might not be the only one at the plea hearing in Greenville.
The tobacco products seized at Benham's and another Tupelo area warehouse were auctioned by the state Tax Commission last week.
Most had not had any state or federal taxes paid on them.
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Patsy Brumfield/Daily Journal