9:25am

Fri May 27, 2011
The Commonwealth

Klan Founder gets Prison Time

OWENSBORO — The founder of the Imperial Klans of America was sentenced Thursday to serve four years in federal prison in connection with trafficking methamphetamine and painkillers. Ron Edwards, who moved his Klan compound from Muhlenberg County to outside of Dawson Springs in 2003, was also sentenced to three years of supervised release once he completes his prison term.

Edwards’ girlfriend, Christina Ann Gillette, was also sentenced to one year and one day in federal prison and one year of supervised release, said Stephanie Collins with the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

The sentencings come a little more than a year after FBI agents swarmed the remote Klan compound on Old Price Road near Dawson Springs in a drug sting.

Prior to Edwards and Gillette’s May 18, 2010, arrest, agents had gathered intelligence that the former Klan leader had trafficked meth and Lortab pills in Dawson Springs, Central City and Bardstown between January 2009 and January 2010.

Edwards was armed with a semiautomatic pistol during a drug deal in Bardstown on Jan. 6, 2009, FBI Special Agent Todd J. Brown wrote in an affidavit. As part of his sentencing, Edwards must forfeit a .45 caliber handgun, according to court records.

Brown also stated in his affidavit that Edwards sent Gillette to Central City to trade an eighth of an ounce of meth for $300 with an FBI cooperating witness.

Edwards and Gillette were set to stand trial in early March, but instead took a plea deal offered by U.S. Attorney Larry Fentress on Feb. 25.

Gillette pleaded guilty to possession of meth with intent to distribute while Edwards pleaded guilt to trafficking, drug possessing and possessing a firearm during a drug transaction. In exchange for their pleas, Fentress offered to recommend a low-end sentence.

Edwards and Gillette will surrender themselves to the courts to serve out their prison sentences at a later date, Collins said.

Neither has served any time behind bars that could be credited to their sentence, she said. Gillette has been out on a $25,000 unsecured bond and Edwards has been out on a $25,000 unsecured bond and on electronic home incarceration.