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Sentencing hearing concludes investigation into drug ring

A 29-year-old Texas man has been sentenced to 30 years in federal custody for running a drug distribution ring that trafficked significant quantities of methamphetamine in the Lubbock area. Five other individuals were handed down prison terms ranging from seven to 20 years during the April 13 sentencing hearing. Police say that the investigation into the group's activities began in March 2017 when a confidential source allegedly purchased an ounce of methamphetamine from the man for $650.

After obtaining a warrant to listen in on the man's phone conversations, police say that they heard him arrange to have drugs delivered to a woman. The woman's vehicle was followed by police and pulled over for a traffic violation shortly after the transaction took place. Reports indicate that the woman consented to a search of her vehicle and admitted that she planned to distribute the drugs discovered in the center console.

Two other individuals were taken into custody following similar traffic stops. About 1.8 kilograms of methamphetamine was allegedly found in a vehicle driven by a 45-year-old man on July 5, and about 2.8 kilograms of the drug are said to have been discovered during a search of a Chevrolet pickup truck in Lubbock County on July 6. Police say that both of the drivers involved provided consent for the searches.

The penalties for drug distribution can be harsh, and experienced criminal defense attorneys may seek to soften them by pointing out mitigating factors to prosecutors or challenging the evidence gathered by police officers. However, this could be more difficult if suspects have confessed or consented to searches that may otherwise have been ruled unconstitutional. Attorneys could understand how individuals facing decades behind bars feel the urge to cooperate with law enforcement, but they would likely advise them to remain silent in these situations without the presence of counsel.

Source: The Lubbock Avalanche-Journal, "6 sentenced in Lubbock federal court for drug trafficking", Gabriel Monte, April 16, 2018

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