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Eight indicted on coke charges

There was a time when Marengo County Schools Superintendent Luke Hallmark heard complaints about a drug problem around Marengo County High School in Dixons Mills.

On Tuesday, U.S. Attorney David York helped ease some of those concerns after announcing that eight people have been indicted in federal court for running what amounted to a cocaine ring.

More than two years ago, the FBI re-opened an office in Selma stemming from drug trafficking concerns in Alabama’s Black Belt, and Tuesday’s indictments served notice that the FBI has been effective in its work in this area of the state.

Kerry Coston of Thomasville, Derrick Coston of Dixons Mills, Tony Preston of Dixons Mills, Steven Preston of Dixons Mills, Jesse Hall of Dixons Mills, Malcoln Pritchett of Arlington and Emma Treadwell of Dixons Mills have all been charged with one count of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute at least 400 grams of a mixture and substance containing cocaine and crack cocaine.

Along with those charges, Tony Preston has been charged with distributing and intent to distribute approximately 23 grams of crack cocaine within 1,000 feet of Marengo County High School.

Steven Preston was additionally charged with distributing crack cocaine within 1,000 feet of Marengo County High School.

Derrick Ladale Coston received three additional counts for distributing and possessing with intent to distribute approximately 134 grams of cocaine. He also was charged with being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm.

Shirely Bouler, an eighth defendant indicted in the case, was charged with having knowledge of the commission of a felony and not reporting it to authorities.

According to the U.S. Attorney, each defendant &045;&045; if convicted &045;&045; could face up to 10 years in prison. In some cases, the charges carry a 20-year sentence.