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Texas man sentenced on drug distribution charges

A narcotics case that began with a tip received by the Texas Department of Public Safety reached its conclusion on Sept. 17 when a Hidalgo County man was sentenced to nine years in prison followed by four years of supervised release for distributing methamphetamine. In return for the man's guilty plea, prosecutors agreed to drop a charge of conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance.

A DPS special agent was assigned to the case after a tip was received by the agency about an impending drug transaction involving a 50-year-old Mercedes man and several kilograms of methamphetamine. The agent says that he observed the man leaving his residence on March 1 at approximately 9:49 a.m. and pulled his vehicle over a short time later on the westbound lanes of Interstate 2.

The man is said to have given the special agent permission to search his vehicle. The ensuing search allegedly led to the discovery of two rectangular packages concealed in a bag of dog food. The packages, which are said to have weighed about four kilograms, contained a substance later identified as methamphetamine. The man allegedly gave an account of how he acquired the drugs that the agent knew to be untrue based on his surveillance.

Experienced criminal defense attorneys would likely advise those being questioned by law enforcement about drug distribution charges to make no statements and consent to no searches before consulting a lawyer. Police searches are sometimes ruled inadmissible on Fourth Amendment grounds even when they have been sanctioned by a judge, but defense attorneys are rarely able to make these arguments when their clients gave police officers permission to look inside their vehicles or residences.

Source: The Valley Morning Star, "Mercedes man gets nearly 9 years in meth case", Lorenzo Zazueta-Castro, Sept. 19, 2018

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