MURRAY — A case in which a Calloway County man is facing multiple charges in what law enforcement officials believe is one of, if not the, largest methamphetamine finds in the history of the county is being taken over by the federal court system.
Thursday, Nick Storm, the public affairs officer for the United States Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Kentucky, confirmed that James Norsworthy, 59, was indicted on Sept. 10 by a federal grand jury. Norsworthy was to have appeared Thursday afternoon in Calloway Circuit Court for a status hearing in a case in which he faced several charges stemming from his arrest in June. That was when officials from multiple agencies acted on a search warrant and seized an estimated six pounds of methamphetamine from an address they alleged belonged to Norsworthy.
Thursday, Norsworthy was to have been in court on charges of enhanced trafficking in a controlled substance in the first degree, first offense (greater than two grams of meth), being a convicted felon in possession of a handgun, possession of marijuana, buying/possessing drug paraphernalia, possession of a controlled substance in the first degree, second offense, drug unspecified, possessing a controlled substance prescription not in its original container in the first degree and obscuring the identity of a machine.
Storm said all of those charges have been reduced to one with the federal case.
“He’s charged with one count of a possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine,” he said, adding that Norsworthy made his initial federal court appearance Tuesday in Paducah in front of United States District Court Judge Thomas Russell.
Storm also said it was on that day that federal officers placed Norsworthy in their custody prior to that appearance. He is no longer listed as an inmate at the Calloway County Jail in Murray. Storm said that this likely means Norsworthy is being held now at an unidentified federal holding facility.
As for where the case heads next, Storm said it does not appear that a follow-up court appearance is scheduled at this time.
“These things can take time,” Storm said, adding that a conviction in this case can bring a heavy prison sentence. “If someone pleads or is found guilty by a jury, there is a threshold, so he is facing no less than 10 years and no more than life. That’s just the range given. However, if he has prior convictions, that changes things a little more.
“If he has one prior conviction, that would make his sentence 15 years to life. If he has two convictions, it would be 25 years to life.”
Calloway County Sheriff Sam Steger said shortly after the arrest that a search warrant was executed on the evening of June 5 at a residence along KY 94 West, just east of the Graves County line. He said the search of the property continued until the evening of June 6 and involved sheriff’s offices from Calloway, Marshall, Graves and McCracken counties, as well as Murray and Paducah police personnel, the Paducah Post of Duty of the federal Drug Enforcement Agency and Kentucky State Police.
He called Norsworthy a key supplier in western Kentucky.
“For this area? For this county? That’s significant. He is supplying a lot of people. When you dabble in six pounds, that’s a significant weight off of our area,” Steger said in June, when he said that he felt this case would eventually become the responsibility of the federal system, based mainly on the fact that the DEA was involved.
The case was officially dismissed without prejudice Thursday in Calloway Circuit Court.
Individuals facing charges are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.