Augusta drug dealer gets plea deal to protect police source

An Augusta man accused of drug dealing pleaded guilty Monday.


Kenneth R. Gaines, 35, pleaded in Richmond County Superior Court to possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute and possession of marijuana with intent to distribute. He had four previous felony cases. Judge James G. Blanchard Jr. accepted the negotiated sentence of eight years in prison, followed by 10 years on probation.

It was a plea offer that Gaines initially balked at taking Monday morning, until Assistant District Attorney Amanda Pennington told the judge the offer was only good until Friday and if Gaines did not accept it, she would seek to re-indict him for three counts of trafficking in methamphetamine. Blanchard told Gaines the offer was so good that he might not accept it as the judge.

In August and September 2016, Gaines sold methamphetamine to an informant on three occasions for $2,000 each time, Pennington said. She was willing Monday to drop those charges and offer the eight-year prison term in order to protect the informant’s identity.

Defense attorney Scott Connell said Gaines was hesitant to take the plea because he thought eight years was too high, considering he didn’t know the full extent of the case evidence. The informant’s identity wasn’t known, and the defense hadn’t seen the recordings that were said to have existed of the informant and Gaines, Connell said.

On Nov. 13, 2016, Gaines was arrested after a pursuit by narcotics agents who recovered drugs Gaines tossed from his vehicle as he fled, Pennington said. In all, officers found one pound, 15 ounces of marijuana, and more than 800 Xanax pills.

At the time of his arrest, Gaines was on probation for possession of cocaine and fleeing. He had 12 years of that sentence left to serve.

Gaines also had three other previous cases, one for trafficking in cocaine.

Gaines’ attorney told the judge that though his client was going about it the wrong way, he was trying to support his family. Gaines has 10 children.

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