Poynter convicted of drug trafficking

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By Forrest Berkshire, Editor

A jury on Wednesday convicted Charles Poynter, 34, of two counts of trafficking in a controlled substance and recommended 15 years in prison.

Poynter was on trial for selling about a quarter-gram of cocaine for $40 on two different occasions in July 2016 to a confidential informant working with the Greater Hardin County Narcotics Task Force.

One focus during the three-day trial was on the confidential informant who made the purchases, an admitted drug user.

“I was an addict,” she testified. “My main goal was to get money to buy more drugs.”

She said she was a convicted felon addicted to meth and heroin during the time.

The informant received $100 per transaction. The detectives working the case provided her the $40 she used on July 7 and July 12, 2016, for purchases at Poynter’s residence on Barberry Lane in Bardstown.

The informant wore audio and video recording devices during both buys, but video did not show the actual exchange and although the audio was not permitted to be played, per a prior ruling by Circuit Court Judge Jack Seay, prosecutors and detectives testified there were no words between the informant and Poynter during the exchange that proved drugs were purchased.

Nelson County Sheriff’s Detective Mike Watts, the lead detective on the case, said it was not uncommon for drug users to be used as informants.

“A lot of times confidential informants, they’re in that circle of people who can buy drugs from specific people,” he testified.

The informant said the $100 she received for the controlled buys would buy her “an eight ball” of meth, or about one-eighth of an ounce, which she said would last her for about two days.

Poynter was targeted after the informant offered up his name to Bardstown Police Detective Chris Smith, who had inquired whether she was willing to become an informant.

Joe Ballard, with the Nelson County Commonwealth’s Attorney’s office, prosecuted the case. Watts, who is assigned to the task force, was the lead detective, and Smith assisted.

Poynter was convicted on two counts of first-degree trafficking in cocaine with a recommended sentence of five years for each, and of being a persistent felony offender, which enhanced the sentence to 15 years for each, to run concurrently. Formal sentencing was scheduled for Dec. 7.

Commonwealth’s Attorney Terry Geoghegan praised the jury for its decision.

“The jury sent a strong message that drug trafficking will not be tolerated in Nelson County,” he said.

Poynter has a lengthy criminal history that includes a charge of attempted murder and first-degree robbery in August 2016, after the purchase he was convicted for Wednesday but before his indictment on the trafficking charges.

In August 2016 he is accused of conspiring with three other people to rob Brylin Stone in Rogan’s Mobile Home Court. Stone was shot during the alleged robbery. Poynter is scheduled to go to trial on charges of complicity to first-degree assault and first-degree robbery related to the August 2016 shooting next month.