2 men take plea deals to avoid prison in federal drug case - WDRB 41 Louisville News

2 men take plea deals to avoid prison in federal drug case

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Two men who pleaded guilty to federal drug charges took plea deals in federal court Wednesday and won't serve any time behind bars.

Eddie Whitfill walked out of the federal courthouse without saying a word.

"The charge he plead guilty to was misprision to commit a felony, and basically what that means is he knew of a felony, and he failed to report it in any timely manner," said Patrick Renn, Whitfill's attorney.

Whitfill and Ronnie Shewmaker took plea deals, and the judge sentenced them to five years probation and a $100 fine.

"He was looking at a mandatory minimum of 10 years to serve at 85 percent," said Frank Mascagni, Shewmaker's attorney. "You've seen him. He's just a big old husky farm worker, construction worker. He is thankful to put this behind him. He has no prior criminal record."

This case is tied to Chris Mattingly, the former Bullitt County Special Deputy accused of being a part of a drug cell in Kentucky which had ties to Mexico and distributed drugs and large amounts of cash across the country.

"This was a good opportunity to resolve the serious charges and get on with his life," Renn said. "His role was working on the farm that Chris Mattingly had in Hardinsburg, Kentucky. There was no role he played in a drug conspiracy whatsoever."

WDRB went to California where investigators say Shewmaker was the alleged money courier for Mattingly and had about $420,000 in cash when he was arrested.

"I presume it was lawfully gained money from another source which allegedly was used for a drug conspiracy," Mascagni said.

James Howard, who was also indicted, had his charge dismissed. Court records say that's because an important government witness died, but investigators did not elaborate.

Two other men who were indicted in the case haven't been arrested or found. It's believed they may be in Mexico.

Mattingly is expected to be sentenced next month.

Related Stories:

Six federally indicted for major drug trafficking ring with Cartel connections

Former Bullitt special deputy indicted on drug charges, linked to Mexican cartel

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