The U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Texas reported in a Jan. 24 press release that nine individuals have been taken into custody for distributing drugs in Rusk, Cherokee and Smith Counties. The suspects are between 30 and 55 years of age. The arrests were made just days after a federal grand jury handed down a 42-count indictment. The suspects were arraigned in Smith County on Jan. 22 and Jan. 24 on charges including conspiracy to distribute drugs, possessing drugs with the intent to distribute, and using a firearm during the commission of a felony.
Have law enforcement officers come knocking at your door? You may be surprised-even shocked, to learn that you are under investigation for criminal activity.
The U.S. Attorney's Office for the Western District of Texas says that a 46-year-old pharmaceutical sales representative made more than $1 million between February 2013 and December 2014 by participating in a fraudulent prescription scheme. The woman was sentenced on Jan. 16 to spend 30 months in a federal prison. This is to be followed by three years of supervised release. She was also ordered to pay restitution costs of $1,746,222. Federal authorities have already recovered approximately $88,000 from the woman by seizing and selling her San Antonio home.
A 51-year-old man has admitted to possessing methamphetamine with the intent to distribute. The U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Texas announced on Jan. 7 that the Edgewood resident had pleaded guilty to distributing at least 500 grams of the drug. He was indicted by a federal grand jury on drug trafficking crimes in August 2019.
The Texas Department of Public Safety announced a major drug seizure in December 2019, but the case was dismissed on Jan. 2 after it was learned that the 3,350 pounds of plant material involved was legal hemp and not illegal marijuana. The judge who dismissed the case ordered the 39-year-old man apprehended in connection with the alleged marijuana released from custody. The man's attorney says that his client intends to file a lawsuit seeking the return of his property and compensation for the time he spent in an Amarillo detention facility.
Modern slavery and human trafficking are, unfortunately, significant problems across the United States. It's common for undocumented immigrants and vulnerable people to become involved in forced work that limits their autonomy and sense of freedom.
Texas was one of the states that led the way for the change in federal law that makes it illegal to sell tobacco products to people under 21. Included as part of a major spending bill passed in December 2019, the legislation did not set a date for officially raising the age to purchase tobacco products, including cigarettes, e-cigarettes and vape cartridges, from 18 to 21. Some estimates indicated that they expected that the law would not go into effect for six to nine months. However, the FDA published a statement on the agency website affirming that "it is now illegal for a retailer to sell any tobacco product...to anyone under 21."