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.
Court documents reveal that the man sold illegal drugs to undercover police officers in Van Zandt County on two occasions in July 2018. This provided law enforcement with probable cause to obtain a search warrant for his residence. During the search, police are said to have discovered an undisclosed quantity of methamphetamine. The investigation into the man's activities was conducted by federal agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and deputies from the Zandt County Sheriff's Office.
The man's sentencing hearing will be scheduled once a presentence investigation has been completed by the U.S. Probation Office. He faces a maximum sentence of 40 years in a federal correctional facility. However, the final sentence will be determined by the court based on federal sentencing guidelines, the recommendations of the U.S. Attorney's Office, statutory factors and the conclusions of the presentence investigation.
The possible sentence, in this case, shows how severe the penalties for violating federal drug laws can be. This is one of the reasons why the vast majority of narcotics prosecutions made by U.S. attorneys are resolved by plea agreements. Experienced criminal defense attorneys could suggest entering into such an agreement when prosecutors possess compelling evidence and the chances of acquittal on drug charges at trial are slim, but they may advise their clients to reject plea offers when the cases against them are unconvincing or law enforcement may have violated rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution.