Federal authorities in Texas have reported that more than 25 individuals have been sentenced to between four months and 20 years in prison in connection with an investigation into drug trafficking in Wichita County that began in 2014. According to media reports, law enforcement agencies taking part in Operation Flat Rate included the Wichita County Sheriff's Office, the Vernon Police Department, the Texas Department of Public Safety, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the U.S. Marshals Service.
The woman who received the shortest sentence pleaded guilty to sheltering two individuals being sought by police in her apartment. The men were apprehended as they attempted to escape the residence by climbing out of a window according to court papers. The longest sentence was handed down to a 35-year-old former Texas Christian University football star who admitted to possessing methamphetamine with the intent to distribute.
Prosecutors say the individuals sentenced were part of a narcotics operation that transported significant quantities of methamphetamine and heroin from the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex area and distributed it throughout Wichita Falls and Vernon. The group is said to have used 10 Wichita Falls homes and several area motels to store and sell the drugs. In addition to more than two dozen arrests, the investigation into the group's activities led to the seizure of large quantities of illegal narcotics, firearms, and cash.
When their clients are taken into custody as part of a large drug distribution sweep, experienced criminal defense attorneys may suggest pursuing a negotiated plea agreement sooner rather than later. This is because prosecutors tend to make less generous offers once they have all of the evidence they need to prove their cases in court. However, when their clients maintain their innocence or the police may have infringed on rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution, attorneys may choose instead to make their arguments before a jury.
Source: News Channel 6, "25+ Defendants in Wichita Falls drug bust sentenced", Nicholas Davis, March 22, 2019
Source: KFDX, "Several law enforcement agencies announced a major criminal case involving more than 30 suspects", Gwyn Bevel, July 12, 2018