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Press Release

Pearl River Woman Pleads Guilty in Drug Trafficking Case

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of Mississippi

Jackson, Miss. – A Pearl River woman pled guilty in federal court to possession with intent to distribute hydrocodone on the Choctaw Indian Reservation, announced U.S. Attorney Darren J. LaMarca of the Southern District of Mississippi and DEA Assistant Special Agent in Charge Anessa Daniels-McCall.

In June of 2021, a federal grand jury indicted Joyce Cauthen in a four-count indictment involving the possession and distribution of methamphetamine and hydrocodone on the Choctaw Indian Reservation. Cauthen entered a plea of guilty to count four of the indictment, possession with the intent to distribute hydrocodone. As stated in Court, Cauthen admitted her role in the offense.

According to court documents, tribal and federal investigators executed a search warrant on Cauthen’s home following the introduction of methamphetamine into the Choctaw Detention Center by an inmate. During the search of her home, investigators recovered hydrocodone tablets and Cauthen’s cellular telephone which revealed numerous text messages between Cauthen and other persons regarding the price and quantity of hydrocodone sold by Cauthen.

Cauthen will be sentenced on May 19, 2023, at 9:00 a.m. and faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison.  A federal district judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

Four other co-defendants have all pled guilty and are awaiting sentencing.  

“The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Mississippi is dedicated to fighting drug trafficking in Tribal and non-tribal communities,” said U.S. Attorney LaMarca.

U.S. Attorney LaMarca commended the work of the members of the Choctaw Police Department of the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians, the U.S. Department of Interior Bureau of Indian Affairs, and U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration who investigated the case. 

The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Kevin J. Payne and Special Assistant United States Attorney Brian K. Burns.

Updated February 10, 2023

Indian Country Law and Justice
Drug Trafficking