INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — A federal appeals court upheld the conviction of Richard Grundy III, a drug trafficking ring leader, on Thursday.
In the new trial, several co-conspirators testified against Grundy, implicating him as the mastermind of the Indianapolis-based drug trafficking ring. Grundy was sentenced to life in prison.
In May 2021, Grundy attempted to overturn his conviction by arguing that the district court violated his Sixth Amendment right to counsel by obstructing him from representing himself. In the argument, Grundy’s lawyer said that the court should have disqualified his counsel due to a conflict of interest.
The appeals court’s 66-page ruling said that Grundy “posed obvious and legitimate security concerns, even with counsel.”
“If he were to represent himself, the district court had to consider further potential problems,” the ruling read in part, concluding that the district court’s decision to appoint counsel was “entirely appropriate under the circumstances” and “did not violate Grundy’s constitutional rights.”
Police and prosecutors have long described Grundy as one of Indianapolis’ most violent and notorious drug dealers.
He was accused of selling more than 3,700 pounds of marijuana and 280 pounds of meth in Indianapolis between April 2016 and November 2017 while leading the so-called “Grundy Gang.”
Local, state and federal officials claimed they tracked the Grundy Crew for about a year as the group was buying, selling and distributing drugs in the Circle City and making millions from drug transactions.
At one point, Grundy was connected to as many as ten murders. Prosecutors dropped those charges in 2017 when Grundy entered a plea deal for dealing marijuana.
“Mr. Grundy obviously had his day in court on those murders and he beat us. He beat us. Grundy beat those charges and he held a press conference and bragged about it,” said U.S. Attorney Josh Minkler.
Hours after Grundy had taken the plea deal and left the courthouse, investigators revealed that their team made a large drug seizure that gave them probable cause to arrest Grundy again. This evidence would be the start of what would result in his life sentence.
Grundy had been arrested at least seven times between 2007 and 2015. He had spent a significant time dodging prosecution. Police say he was known to threaten potential witnesses to dissolve the case.