One-time Kentucky marijuana kingpin could get more jail time over alcohol arrest

Rodney Adams, a one-time marijuana kingpin in Southern Kentucky, faces additional jail time for an alleged parole violation.
Rodney Adams, a one-time marijuana kingpin in Southern Kentucky, faces additional jail time for an alleged parole violation. Photo courtesy of Pulaski County Detention Center

A one-time marijuana kingpin in Southern Kentucky could be headed back to prison because of a drunken-driving arrest.

Rodney M. Adams, 59, of Somerset, whom authorities said imported at least nine tons of Mexican pot in the 1990s, was on supervised release from prison in that case when he was charged in Somerset with driving under the influence.

Federal authorities argue that was a violation of Adams’ parole, which included a requirement to abstain from alcohol.

There has not been a final hearing on the government’s request to revoke Adams’ release.

However, U.S. Magistrate Judge Edward B. Atkins ruled after an initial hearing on Aug. 22 that there was probable cause to believe Adams had violated supervised release conditions and ordered him jailed pending a final ruling.

Adams’ attorney, Greta Gail Stamper Price, said the results of a blood test Adams took when he was arrested in early August are not yet available, but Adams believes the results will exonerate him on the drunken-driving charge.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Jason D. Parman asked to put off the final hearing for Adams until the test results are available.

A portable breath test indicated a “strong presence of alcohol” when Adams was arrested Aug. 4, according to the citation.

Adams ran a lucrative, illegal gambling operation at his Somerset pawn shop more than 20 years ago.

But he also headed a smuggling ring that imported at least 60 loads of marijuana to the Pulaski County area during the mid-to late 1990s, with an average weight of 300 pounds per load, according to David Keller, an FBI agent who investigated.

The case against Adams was among the largest marijuana investigations ever in Southern Kentucky when he was arrested in May 2000, leading to charges against more than 30 people in Pulaski, McCreary, Rockcastle and Whitley counties, authorities said then.

Several people also were charged with Adams in federal court, including his wife.

Adams reportedly told authorities after his arrest that he had couriers bring in Mexican dope in cars that resembled police vehicles and wholesaled it for $1,200 a pound, or a gross figure of more than $20 million.

Adams lived high for awhile, with a 9,000-square-foot house, a Jaguar, a Corvette and lots of cash, but also had a drug problem and lost hundreds of thousands of dollars gambling, according to court records.

Federal authorities seized his property after he pleaded guilty.

Then-U.S. District Judge Jennifer Coffman sentenced Adams to 17 years and six months in prison in February 2002, but said he didn’t have the money to pay a fine.

Adams started a five-year period of supervised release after getting out of prison in 2016.

He has already served an additional seven months for a previous violation after he admitted drinking Crown Royal whiskey and then failed to report to the probation office for a drug test.