September 24, 2007

Trial to Delve into Drug World

By Lynn Safranek, Omaha World-Herald, Neb.

Sep. 24--Two Omaha men will go on trial Tuesday as suspects in one of the largest marijuana-trafficking conspiracies ever investigated in Omaha.

The trial in U.S. District Court for Dale Giles and Charmar Brown is expected to last three to five weeks, with more than 70 witnesses and 1,000 pieces of evidence.

A jury will hear testimony intended to expose the extravagances of big-time drug dealers -- diamond jewelry, Gucci watches and luxury cars -- and how the business of buying and selling thousands of pounds of marijuana works.

The trial also will be a preview of the first-degree murder cases against Giles and Brown.

In addition to the federal charges, Giles, 31, and Brown, 25, face local charges in the deaths of three out-of-town men whose bodies were found burning in a field in May 2005 near 60th and State Streets.

All three had been shot in the head execution-style before being set on fire.

Douglas County prosecutors are seeking the death penalty for Giles and Brown in connection with the homicides.

Expected to testify at the federal trial are: a man who says he was present when the three men were shot and killed and who helped dispose of their bodies; a second man who says he helped clean the crime scene; and a third man who says he replaced the carpet in Giles' home, according to federal prosecutors' court filings.

The jury also will hear from DNA experts, a gemologist certified in jewel appraisal, a firearms examiner, chemists and a narcotics detective with experience in interpreting drug dealers' jargon.

Giles and Brown were indicted in April 2006 on drug-trafficking and weapons charges after authorities seized 1,000 pounds of marijuana, money-counting machines, guns and bulletproof vests from storage facilities and residences registered to them.

Together, they are accused of purchasing thousands of pounds of marijuana and using other people to transport the drugs into Omaha, according to court documents.

Giles' girlfriend, Evereada Kouris, 31, also is standing trial in connection with what authorities say was her role in the conspiracy. Several others indicted in the case already have pleaded guilty and been sentenced.

Prosecutors plan to play recorded jailhouse phone conversations between Giles and others, including Kouris. In those conversations, Giles allegedly directed people to deliver marijuana that had not been seized by authorities during his arrest, according to court documents.

Giles' attorney, Mark Weber, said Giles disputes some of the information that prosecutors plan to present. Likewise, Brown's attorney, Michael Levy, said he plans to challenge the admissibility of evidence collected by police.

"I anticipate a very long, very grueling trial," Levy said.


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