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Drug trial will resume Monday

POSTED: August 25, 2008 5:00 a.m.
/For The Times

Charles Douglas Graham, 22, who authorities allege is the leader of Gainesville's BOE-23 street gang, was on trial this week in Hall County Superior Court on felony charges of sale of cocaine and sale of the designer drug Ecstasy.

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The trial of a reputed gang leader has been continued until next week.

Charles Douglas Graham, 22, who authorities allege is the leader of Gainesville’s BOE-23 street gang, was on trial this week in Hall County Superior Court on felony charges of sale of cocaine and sale of the designer drug Ecstasy.

On Wednesday, as the prosecution wrapped up its case against Graham, Chief Judge C. Andrew Fuller granted a continuance in response to an early motion filed by one of the parties, Northeastern Judicial Circuit Public Defender Brad Morris said, without elaborating.

The trial will resume on Monday.

Graham faces a potential prison sentence of between five and 30 years for each count if convicted.

His lawyers sought unsuccessfully to keep his alleged gang affiliations out of the trial. Graham is not charged with any violation of Georgia’s laws against criminal gang activity. Gang membership in and of itself is not a crime.

But the testimony of an informant who the prosecution claimed bought drugs from Graham opened the door for mention of Graham’s involvement with BOE, which stands for "Busting On Everyone."

Graham is well-known among local law enforcement. In 2003, he was acquitted by a jury in the 2002 drive-by shooting deaths of two teens. Authorities believe Graham fired a SKS assault rifle into a crowd outside a birthday party on Smallwood Drive. A co-defendant in the case got life in prison.

Graham, who has had a few minor run-ins with the law since then but avoided any significant prison time, is currently free on bond.

The informant who helped make the drug case against Graham testified this week that he deceived authorities when he made hidden videos of Graham accepting cash and giving him drugs.

Christopher Rivera Sanchez, who is serving a 15-year sentence for an unrelated drive-by shooting, testified the drugs he was given were actually his drugs.

Investigator Andy Smith acknowledged during a cross-examination by Graham’s lawyer that Sanchez told Graham in a phone conversation where to find drugs in Sanchez’ home.

But Smith also said that he understood through statements made by Graham that "the proceeds of the sale would go to Graham."



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