A federal judge sentenced a 36-year-old Texas man to three years in federal prison on Sept. 26 for trafficking cocaine, according to a press release issued by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Texas. The judge also ordered the defendant to forfeit nearly $28,000 in drug profits.
On June 29, 2018, a federal grand jury indicted the defendant, a Tyler resident, based on evidence collected when law enforcement agents executed a search warrant at his home. During that search, which was conducted in the previous month, agents found multiple firearms, a large amount of ammunition, ledgers and other evidence of drug sales, and $27,810 in cash. Agents also discovered text messages indicating the defendant was involved in illegal drug activities.
The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Texas Department of Public Safety, the Smith County Sheriff's Office, and the Tyler Police Department. An assistant U.S. attorney prosecuted the case.
Federal drug crime convictions often carry severe penalties. These may include long prison terms, years of probation, community service, heavy fines, the forfeiture of certain assets and a permanent criminal record. However, all defendants are considered innocent until proven guilty and have the right to retain a criminal defense attorney to fight the charges. One potential method would be to challenge search as not being made with the requisite probable cause. If that is not feasible, however, another strategy could be for the attorney to negotiate a plea deal with prosecutors. This could lead to a reduction in charges and help the defendant obtain a more lenient sentence.