A 30-year-old Texas man faces several years in federal prison after being found guilty of conspiracy to possess methamphetamine with the intent to distribute, witness tampering, and obstruction of justice. The Panola County resident was found guilty by a jury on June 28 following a trial that lasted for two weeks. He was originally indicted along with 10 other individuals in December 2017. He was the only defendant who chose to face a jury rather than enter into a plea agreement with the prosecution.
The man was originally put on trial in August 2018, but federal prosecutors dismissed the charges against him without prejudice when he introduced a series of Facebook posts allegedly written by a government witness that appeared to exonerate him. After conducting an investigation, prosecutors came to the conclusion that the man had created the posts himself to fool the jury. They then refiled the narcotics charges against the man and added counts of witness tampering and obstruction.
The man will be sentenced once an investigation by the U.S. Probation Office has been concluded. He faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years for the drug charge and could spend another 10 years behind bars for the obstruction count. He could also be sentenced to between 10 years and life in prison on the witness tampering charge as the tampering took place during a criminal trial.
This case reveals how severe the penalties for committing federal crimes can be. U.S. attorneys generally do not take cases to court unless they feel the evidence they will present to a jury is compelling, which is why the vast majority of federal criminal cases are resolved at the negotiating table. Experienced criminal defense attorneys could advise their clients to pursue plea agreements when the evidence against them is strong, and they may urge them to avoid behavior that could lead to additional charges and penalties.
Source: The Panola Watchman, "Carthage man re-indicted with added charges in meth ring case", Meredith Shamburger, Dec. 4, 2018