- Associated Press - Wednesday, February 3, 2016

ABERDEEN, Miss. (AP) - A federal grand jury has indicted a teacher at a middle school in Columbus on drug charges and money laundering.

U.S. Attorney’s Office spokesman Chad Lamar says Paul Marcus Jackson, aka “Wall,” was arrested at the school Tuesday. Jackson is listed as an eighth-grade teacher on the Columbus Municipal School District’s website.

The Clarion-Ledger reports (https://on.thec-l.com/1KoQIYD) Jackson and seven others, according to a press release from the U.S. attorney’s office, were charged with conspiracy to possess and distribute methamphetamine, possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine and money laundering.

Jennifer Criddle of Houston, Deanta Ewing and Terry Lynn McKinney of Vardaman, Robert Bailey and Trent Montgomery of Ecru, Contessa Gates of Eupora and Christopher McKinney of Pheba were indicted on the same charges.

Jackson appeared Tuesday in federal court in Aberdeen.

An indictment dated Dec. 10, states Jackson did “knowingly, intentionally, and willfully combine, conspire” to “distribute and possess with intent to distribute a mixture and substance containing a detectable amount of methamphetamine” beginning in February 2014.

The indictment claims Jackson and the others conspired to establish a “methamphetamine distribution network” in an effort to “obtain as much money as possible.”

They allegedly “transported and distributed methamphetamine to buyers in northern Mississippi and elsewhere” as well as “counted, transported and stored currency derived from the sale of the controlled substance.”

As a co-conspirator, Jackson would correspond with “other methamphetamine traffickers” in California and Mississippi to ship “large quantities of methamphetamine into the Northern District and elsewhere,” the indictment states.

The drugs were to be purchased and packaged in California and shipped to Mississippi.

Part of Jackson’s alleged role in the drug ring was to deposit money “into accounts at branches of banks in exchange for cash payments,” the indictment claims further, citing a $5,000 deposit and a $4,800 deposit into two Bank of America accounts in Tennessee and two $5,000 deposits into Wells Fargo accounts in Alabama.

A 2010 Nissan Maxima, four weapons and $12,562 were seized as a result of the investigation.

Bond information and whether Jackson is represented by an attorney who could comment on the case was not immediately available.

The case was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Agency and the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics. The U.S. Marshal Service, sheriff departments in Clay, Chickasaw, Calhoun, Webster and Pontotoc counties, and the Houston, Pontotoc and Calhoun City police departments also assisted in the investigation.

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Information from: The Clarion-Ledger, https://www.clarionledger.com

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