Federal authorities in Texas have charged nine San Antonio-area men with drug distribution and money laundering. The federal indictments were unsealed on Sept. 7.
The defendants, who range in age from 38 to 46, were all charged with conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute cocaine and conspiracy to commit money laundering. They are being held in federal custody until they receive detention hearings.
Court documents show the defendants are accused of distributing multiple kilograms of cocaine on the east side of San Antonio from January 2015 until their arrests. If convicted, they could be sentenced to 10 years to life in federal prison for the drug charge and up to 20 years in federal prison for the money laundering charge. Several law enforcement agencies participated in the investigation, including the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, the San Antonio Police Department, the Texas Department of Public Safety and the Bexar Sheriff's Office.
As this case demonstrates, federal drug charges can lead to serious consequences for those who are convicted. In addition to receiving long prison sentences, defendants can be assessed heavy fines and forced to surrender certain assets. After they are released from prison, they will have a permanent criminal record, which could hinder future attempts at employment. Since the stakes are so high, it is important for individuals facing drug charges to mount a solid defense. A criminal defense attorney could review the case and develop a defense strategy to defeat the charges. If the evidence is strong, an attorney could still negotiate a plea deal that allows the defendant to plead guilty to reduced charges, which could significantly lower the penalties.
Source: KSAT, "9 arrested on charges of distributing cocaine, money laundering", David Ibanez, Sept. 7, 2018