Fmr. Ky. Pastor Pleads Guilty in Record-Breaking Drug Bust; Used Church Building as Distribution Site
A Kentucky church pastor and two other men have plead guilty in what authorities have suggested is one of the "biggest drug busts" in state history.
Scott Gilliam, 42, Brandon Logan, 28, and his uncle, Michael Scott Logan, 38, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute oxycodone, reported WSAZ.
Gilliam, who worked as a pastor at Perry's Branch Holiness Tabernacle Church in Olive Hill before it closed a year and a half ago, used his former church as a base for his drug operations, a fact which shocked long-time residents of the area.
"It's just a quiet little neighborhood, but to know this little old school house that was a church for the past few years was involved in this is a complete shock to me," Mike Newsome told ABC News 8. "And I live right across the street."
According to investigators, the pastor and his partners had stored "tens of thousands of dollars worth of illegal pills...inside the walls of a playroom of the church," which had shut its doors a year ago.
Police found "28 oxycodone pills, $34,960 in cash, candles, wax and containers used to ship the pills" to another trafficker in Las Vegas. Police said they also found "drug paraphernalia and receipts for packages" in Michael Logan's home.
Law enforcement suggested that the pills would have sold for as much as $40 or $45 in the region where the men were operating.
Investigators also seized $1 million in cash.
The original investigation began over 18 months before the men's November arrest when authorities received a tip. They began their investigation by making random traffic stops and searches and eventually moved to an undercover investigation, learning that tens of thousands of pills were being trafficked through several states through the men's organization.
Investigators also partnered with the Drug Enforcement Agency, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Internal Revenue Services and the United States Postal Service.
"It goes to show you never know who you can trust," the spokesperson for law enforcement told Maysville Online in November. "This man was a pastor and used his church for this. It's a terrible situation."
While the Logans and Gilliam had been free on bond, after Wednesday's hearing the judge ordered the men to remainin custody.
Michael Logan is likely to face a sentence between six and nine years in prison, the highest base-offense level, as he was responsible for trafficking between 10,000 to 15,000 pills, reported The Daily Independent.
Giliam and Brandon Logan will likely face between six to eight years in prison. Although Gilliam was responsible for 4,900 pills and Brandon, only roughly more than 1,000 pills, the younger man, however, "will receive a two-level increase for firearms possession, according to the judge."
The three men will be sentenced on May 12.