INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- Testimony has begun in the federal trial of accused Indianapolis drug kingpin Richard Grundy III.
The convicted drug dealer faces a series of federal charges that could send him to prison for the rest of his life.
During opening statements, prosecutors claimed Grundy coordinated the large scale drug ring, but Grundy is not on trial alone. Four other suspects are also facing a variety of federal charges.
Wearing a suit with his leg shackles hidden from view of the jury, Richard Grundy listened as federal prosecutors accused him of leading a major drug trafficking organization that supplied drugs to thousands of users across Indianapolis.
Prosecutors told the jury Grundy imported thousands of pounds of marijuana and hundreds of pounds of meth, as well as smaller amounts of cocaine and heroin from Arizona, where the drugs cost half as much as they do in Indy.
In November 2017, following wire taps, controlled buys and extensive surveillance, federal agents raided a series of homes.
Those raids led to an indictment which charged more than 20 people with federal drug charges.
Most of those suspects pleaded guilty, but Grundy and four others have taken the case to trial.
While prosecutors claim they served as drug-couriers and street dealers, the attorney’s for Ezell Neville, Derek Atwater, Undrae Moseby and James Beasley repeatedly told jurors there is little evidence tying the four men to the larger scheme.
Some of the suspects claim they didn’t even know each other prior to their arrests.
One agent with the DEA testified Neville was arrested carrying cocaine on a bus in 2018.
As for Grundy, his attorney cautioned jurors many of the prosecutions witnesses entered plea deals to testify and can’t be trusted.
Grundy’s attorney added his client is only guilty of hanging around the wrong group of people.
The jurors were not told about previous allegations that Grundy and his crew were linked to a series of murders. Marion County prosecutors dismissed murder charges against Grundy in 2017 and Grundy pleaded guilty to one count of marijuana possession.
The federal trial against all five suspects is expected to last around six weeks.
During the trial, extra measures are being taken to protect the jurors.
While in court Grundy and his co-defendants will wear leg shackles, although steps are being taken to make sure the jurors don't see the shackles. The suspects also will not be told the names of the jurors selected.
Court records claim over the years Grundy has attempted to intimidate witnesses and threatened to kill anyone who cooperated with the federal government.