EVANSVILLE, Ind. – Accused drug kingpin Richard Grundy took the stand to speak up for himself inside a federal courtroom in Evansville where he faces charges of running an organization that flooded the streets of Indianapolis with narcotics worth an estimated $3.5 million in late 2016 until late 2017.
Grundy was the only witness called by attorneys representing five co-defendants in an investigation dubbed Operation Electric Avenue that stretched from central Indiana to Phoenix, Arizona.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Brad Blackington, in closing arguments, told jurors that witness testimony, cell phone records, travel itineraries, wire tape intercepts and video surveillance confirm that Grundy was the prime organizer of the finances and drug buys that resulted in couriers returning to Indianapolis with methamphetamine, cocaine, heroin and marijuana, while he often traveled to Phoenix under an assumed name on Greyhound buses to avoid detection.
Hours earlier, Grundy told jurors he traveled anonymously because he feared police harassment and that his trips to Arizona were coincidental family visits.
Grundy denied running the drug organization, said he indulged only in marijuana, never asked his unemployed friends how they came about their money or what they were involved in and that he was a rap music company owner with no financial records or tax documents to prove his entertainment industry connections.
On the stand, Blackington succeeded in asking Grundy to explain his dead rat tattoo which the defendant said represented his disdain for informants who cooperate with law enforcement such as the witnesses who testified they watched Grundy raise cash, negotiate deals and disperse narcotics.
Two dozen people were arrested in coordinated raids across Indianapolis in November of 2017. Most have resolved their cases or accepted guilty pleas. Grundy faces a life prison sentence if convicted.
Closing arguments on behalf of the five remaining defendants will be heard Thursday morning by Judge Jane Magnus-Stinson to be followed by the last word from prosecutors before jurors will hear final instructions and begin deliberations.
With multiple defendants and more than a dozen charges, those talks may prove to be lengthy.