Judge: Pot-Slinging Sheriff’s Statements Can Be Used In His Trial


Photo: Steve Jahnke/The Southern Illinoisan
Gallatin County Sheriff Raymond Martin is transported to the Jackson County Courthouse in Murphysboro, Ill. Martin, already accused of dealing marijuana while on duty, also faces federal charges that he tried to have witnesses killed while he was jailed awaiting trial.

​A southern Illinois sheriff accused of selling marijuana on the job has lost in his bid to prevent federal jurors from hearing jailhouse statements he made that led to charges of plotting with his wife and son to have two potential witnesses killed.

Raymond Martin’s quest to have interviews with two investigators last January ruled inadmissible as evidence during his trial was rejected by U.S. District Judge J. Phil Gilbert on Friday.
The sheriff’s trial is scheduled to start Monday, September 6, in Benton, Ill., reports Jim Suhr at STLtoday.com.
Federal agents arrested Martin last year on charges he trafficked marijuana while serving as sheriff of Gallatin County, Ill. He allegedly supplied a pot dealer and threatened to kill the man when he said he wanted out.
At least twice, according to a Drug Enforcement Administration agent’s affidavit, Martin pulled his service revolver to press the point that it would be “that easy” to make the dealer “disappear.”
While Martin was jailed on those marijuana charges, authorities claim he masterminded a scheme between September and December 2009 to have witnesses assaulted and possibly killed. None of the witnesses were actually harmed.

Photo: Disclosure
Gallatin County Sheriff Raymond Martin when he was still in business allegedly strong-arming local pot dealers

​Police claim Martin brought his 37-year-old wife, Kristina Martin, and 21-year-old son Cody Martin in on the plot in which two cellmates were offered as much as $17,000 to kill the witnesses. The jailed sheriff allegedly supplied the would-be hit men with a detailed map to the targets’ homes.
Investigators claim Cody Martin told them that Kristina Martin, his stepmother, supplied him with cash that he relayed to a would-be hit man. Kristina Martin wore latex gloves while handling the money to avoid leaving fingerprints, an investigator said.
Witnesses have testified the plot fell apart when one of the two would-be hit men backed out of the deal and called the cops.
The U.S. government is trying to seize Martin’s house, the handguns he allegedly carried while selling marijuana on the job and up to $104,000 that law enforcement allegedly found in his home.

Jackson County Sheriff’s Dept.
Hey Sheriff, welcome to how the other side lives.

​The statements Sheriff Martin made while jailed in Jackson County on federal drug charges were improperly obtained and should be thrown out because they were given without the presence of his public defender, who has since withdrawn from the case, said Martin’s attorney, John O’Gara.
But Judge Gilbert sided with the prosecutors, ruling that law enforcement had a legal right to question Martin in the murder-for-hire case — but not about the marijuana, because he had not yet been charged for it.
A federal grand jury indicted Martin on the murder conspiracy charges two months later.
Gilbert also noted that Martin waived in writing his constitutional right to have an attorney present before he was questioned.
Martin, 48, pleaded not guilty and remains jailed on $1 million bond. The sheriff’s wife and son have pleaded not guilty to the murder-solicitation charges and are scheduled for pretrial conferences on October 13.
Meanwhile, Martin is still sheriff and is still collecting his $40,440 annual salary and $6,500 state stipend, but he won’t be much longer. One of his deputies, Shannon Bradley, has been serving as interim sheriff and is also running for the office in November’s election.