Trafficking trial continues to day two

Published 10:20 pm Monday, June 24, 2013

Gregvon Satterthwaite

Gregvon Satterthwaite


A jury was selected and opening statements were made as the drug trafficking trial of a Belhaven man got underway Monday in Beaufort County Superior Court.

Gregvon Satterthwaite was charged in November 2011 with several counts of opium trafficking and had worked out a plea arrangement with the state when his case came up in last month’s docket. But he rejected the state’s plea deal in front of Superior Court Judge Russell Duke Jr., saying at the time that he wanted a trial and a new lawyer.

In his opening statement, Assistant District Attorney Matthew Rice described the events leading to Satterthwaite’s arrest: a controlled buy made by a confidential informant for the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office Drug Unit; the video made of prescription pills and money exchanging hands.

Norma Laughton, Satterthwaite’s defense attorney, in her opening statement, questioned whether the sale by Satterthwaite to the informant, Brandi Lynn Cooke (formerly Foster), qualifies as trafficking.

On June 28, 2011, Cooke was charged with opium trafficking and possession with intent to sell cocaine. In exchange for reduced charges, she agreed to work as an informant and help bring in Satterthwaite, known as “Popcorn,” who occupied a higher rung on the local drug hierarchy, according to Lt. Josh Shiflett, one of investigators working the case.

That opportunity came on May 25, 2011, when Cooke purchased $220-worth of prescription pain pills from Satterthwaite. During her testimony as a state’s witness, Cooke described speaking with Satterthwaite, meeting up with sheriff’s office investigators and being outfitted with audio and video transmitter, and the drug buy itself, which took place an SUV in the parking lot of Keech’s Grocery in Pinetown.

Shiflett testified that Cooke used the $220 in cash specially earmarked for controlled buys to purchase 60, 5 mg. Hydrocodone pills and 10, 10 mg. Hydrocodone pills from Satterthwaite.

There was some confusion as to the details of the buy, because Cooke said she was “messed up” on prescription pain medication Percoset and heroin at the time, a fact she didn’t volunteer to sheriff’s office investigators.

At 5 p.m., Duke interrupted Shiflett’s testimony and dismissed the jurors for the day. The trial is set to continue today.