News Release
May 25, 2007

Coventry Man is Sentenced to 84 Months in Federal Prison for a Methamphetamine Scheme

MAY 25 --A federal judge today sentenced Roger A. Murray, of Coventry, to 84 months in federal prison for a scheme to allow a codefendant to manufacture methamphetamine on Murray's property. In October, federal agents and state police detectives seized chemicals and materials used to manufacture methamphetamine from Murray’s house and from a shed behind it. The codefendant, Gregory M. Thompson, of Warwick, was sentenced last week to 151 months in prison.

June W. Stansbury, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration in New England and United States Attorney Robert Clark Corrente announced the sentence, which Chief U.S. District Court Judge Mary M. Lisi imposed in U.S. District Court, Providence.

In February, Thompson, 49, and Murray, 32, pleaded guilty to federal methamphetamine charges. At the plea hearings, Assistant U.S. Attorney Mary E. Rogers said the government could prove that, on October 3, state police detectives from the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Task Force (HIDTA) and agents of the Drug Enforcement Administration Clandestine Laboratory Team executed a search warrant at Murray’s home on Shady Valley Road. From the house, they seized 16 pint bottles of iodine, and from a shed, 120 capsules of ephedrine, a large container of drain cleaner, an acidity tester, and other materials used to make methamphetamine.

Murray admitted that he was allowing Thompson to use the shed to make meth and that he had agreed to allow the iodine to be delivered to his house. Murray also said that Thompson planned to send extracted ephedrine to an unidentified person in California.

Later that day, agents found a package of phosphorous under the bed of Thompson’ home in Warwick. Phosphorous is also used in the manufacture of meth.

Murray, 32, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to manufacture methamphetamine, possessing equipment, chemicals, and materials used to manufacture methamphetamine, and possessing iodine, intending to use it to manufacture methamphetamine. Thompson, 49, pleaded guilty to those charges, and an additional charge of possessing ephedrine, intending to use it to manufacture methamphetamine.

Thompson had several prior offenses, including federal and state drug trafficking convictions in Texas, California, and Rhode Island, which classified him as a career offender under federal sentencing law. Murray could also have qualified as a career offender, but, imposing the 84-month sentence, Judge Lisi noted his lesser role in the offense, the less severe nature of his prior convictions, and other factors.

The Rhode Island State Police and the Federal Bureau of Investigation jointly lead the HIDTA Task Force, and detectives from several Rhode Island police departments are assigned to it. The DEA Clandestine Laboratory Team consists of agents who are specially trained to deal with the hazards associated with clandestine laboratories that are used to manufacture illegal drugs.