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Majority of defendants in Texas drug bust going to federal prison

Seventeen people arrested during an investigation run by the Drug Enforcement Administration and local law enforcement agencies have received their sentences in federal court in Taylor. For 14 defendants, their sentences for drug trafficking ranged from 15 months to 262 months in federal prison. The judge placed two people on probation and released one person for time served.

Sentences resulted from the guilty pleas entered by the defendants. The majority of them accepted charges against them for distributing 5 or more kilograms of cocaine or possession of drugs with the intent to distribute them.

Evidence cited within court records filed between July 2016 and October 2017 described how the people obtained narcotics in Laredo and distributed the drugs throughout Central Texas and elsewhere in the United States. The defendants performed various illegal activities like collecting and transporting drugs and then laundering money. Records from the U.S. Department of Justice documented seizures by investigators of 42 pounds of marijuana, 6 kilograms of cocaine, 2 ounces of crack cocaine and three guns.

When a multi-agency drug investigation targets a person with accusations of drug trafficking, the person may ask an attorney for advice. Prosecutors often have strong motivations to pursue drug crimes aggressively, and a defense attorney may strive to protect the person's rights. Legal insights may help a person choose between standing trial or pursuing a plea deal. An attorney might question evidence that came from an informant or unlawful search; by trying to weaken evidence against the person, an attorney might achieve a case dismissal or reduction of charges. This effort may reduce the possibility of the person being sentenced to prison.

Source: KVUE, "17 sentenced in Taylor-area crack cocaine, methamphetamine operation", Drew Knight, Nov. 20, 2018

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