Ex-sheriff's partner in crime sentenced

A Williamsburg man has been sentenced to 33 months in prison on a federal charge that he conspired with a former Whitley County sheriff to distribute Oxycodone.

The defendant, James A. Meradith, 35, was sentenced Friday by U.S. District Judge Gregory Van Tatenhove in London.

Meradith previously pleaded guilty to giving three Oxycodone pills to former Whitley County Sheriff Lawrence Hodge in exchange for a shotgun that had been issued to the sheriff's department. Meradith also admitted to making trips to Jellico, Tenn., to obtain pills for Hodge, the U.S. Attorney's office said.

Hodge has been sentenced to more than 15 years in prison for various conspiracies involving drugs, extortion and money laundering.

According to the U.S. Attorney's office, Meradith admitted in a plea agreement that he was part of a drug conspiracy with Hodge and other Whitley County individuals from late 2010 to February 2011.

Meradith distributed more than 300 pills during that period, the U.S. Attorney's office said.

The case grew out of an investigation by the federal Bureau of Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Kentukcy State Police.