Feds announce new round of indictments

Steve Gonzalez Apr. 21, 2005, 5:30am

United States Attorney Ronald J. Tenpas announced the indictment of Devon Smith, 19, of Mt. Vernon by a federal grand jury sitting in Benton on April 20.

Smith is charged with distributing crack cocaine on Jan. 4 and 5 in Jefferson County.

Smith faces a penalty of up to 20 years imprisonment, a fine of up to $1 million and a term of supervised release of not less than three years.

The grand jury also indicted Ryan William McDonald, 25, of Olney on child pornography charges.

"On or about Feb. 22, in Richland County, McDonald did knowingly possess a computer disk or other material that contained four images of child pornography that has been mailed, or shipped or transported in interstate commerce by any means, including by computer," the indictment stated.

“The United States Attorney’s office, in conjunction with federal and state law enforcement authorities, is actively investigating and prosecuting individuals who produce, distribute, or possess child pornography.” Tenpas said.

McDonald faces a penalty of up to 10 years imprisonment, a fine of up to $250,000, and a term of supervised release of up to three years.

Hal Dawson Hicks, 59, of Mt. Carmel, was named in a five-count indictment returned by the Benton grand jury.

He was charged with embezzling three checks totaling $156,307.34 from the U.S. Postal Service.

Hicks also is charged with tax evasion and with falsifying a “Fuel Use Certification” form.

All the cases are being prosecuted by assistant U.S. Attorney George A. Norwood.

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