Residents of a Texas border town woke up on May 8 to the sounds of helicopters, loud booms and screaming. What they heard was an early morning roundup of suspected drug traffickers. 22 people were arrested in the raid. The suspects were charged with drug trafficking and other charges.
A Texas man was sentenced to five years in federal prison on April 19 for drug trafficking charges after pleading guilty in December to manufacturing methamphetamine. He and 16 others from a large drug distribution group were indicted in February for allegedly buying cold pills from pharmacies in order to use the pseudoephedrine from the pills to manufacture methamphetamine.Convictions for violating Texas drug laws can bring serious penalties. Sentences for drug manufacturing convictions can range from 180 days in jail or prison and a fine of up to $10,000 to life in prison and fines up to $250,000. The severity of the penalty depends on the type and quantity of drugs found and whether the drug was being manufactured for distribution. A defendant's prior criminal record may also influence the sentence.
A Texas couple was arraigned April 9 after allegedly bringing over 24 pounds of bath salts into Maine. Both the man and the woman pleaded not guilty to aggravated trafficking in synthetic hallucinogenic drugs and unlawful possession of synthetic hallucinogenic drugs. The woman is believed to be the man's girlfriend. They each face up to 30 years in prison and fines up to $50,000 if convicted of the drug distribution charges.The pair were part of a larger group that had allegedly shipped the bath salts from China to Texas and Maine. Two other individuals were arrested on drug charges related to the alleged distribution of the bath salts. Authorities estimated the drugs to be worth $1.7 million on the street, making the seizure the largest of bath salts in Maine's history.
On March 8, the Texas Department of Public Safety tailed a single-engine Cessna 172 as it traveled across the state. Police believed that the occupants of the plane loaded it with illegal narcotics at an airport in McAllen. When the plane stopped to refuel at the Brenham Airport in Washington County, police moved to inspect the plane. They allegedly found a handgun, 3 ounces of cocaine and 65 pounds of marijuana. Police estimate the value of the substance believed to be marijuana at approximately $30,000. Both men now face drug distribution charges for the alleged possession of between 50 and 2,000 lbs of marijuana. Each man is also charged with the unlawful carrying of a weapon.
A 68-year-old Austin man and a 45-year-old Lockhart resident were found guilty following their recent trial for being members of a heroin distribution ring. Both men will be sentenced on the charges at a hearing in May. Members of the ring were accused of processing the heroin at an Austin restaurant owned by the family of the 68-year-old defendant. The men were only two of 15 defendants arrested on suspicion of being members of the Houston-based ring. The arrests were part of an investigation that lasted for an entire year, and one of the suspects died prior to the trial. The remaining 12 suspects pleaded guilty to the drug distribution charges.
Texas recently dismantled a Dallas-based marijuana trafficking ring that resulted in one of the largest cash seizures in Texas. Police sized more than $1.7 million from the drug trafficking ring where individuals involved allegedly posed as cowboys to transport horses between Texas and Arizona.
A man from Abilene, Texas was sentenced to 18 years in prison after being convicted of federal drug charges, according to the Department of Justice.
Texas has started to crackdown on synthetic drug use and a state lawmaker wants to give law enforcement officials more tools to arrest offenders. If the lawmaker's proposed bills are passed, more individuals in Texas may find themselves facing synthetic drug charges.
The American Civil Liberties Union is taking issue with federal drug sentencing laws. Federal drug laws were suppose to punish the masterminds of drug trafficking rings but the ACLU says that these laws really end up punishing low-level offenders, most of whom are non-violent drug addicts.
The increase in synthetic drugs being sold in Texas stores has led to several police investigations and enforcement efforts to stop the sale of illegal synthetic drugs. Texas police are not alone in finding it difficult to enforce synthetic drug laws.