On March 5, multiple federal, state and local law enforcement agencies coordinated to bust a large drug ring operating in west Texas. So far, 33 individuals have been charged in the case.
According to a news release issued by the U.S. Attorney's Office of the Northern District of Texas, approximately 300 officers joined forces to arrest 19 people connected to the ring and seize a large quantity of methamphetamine and cash. Several firearms were also reportedly confiscated. The raids took place in the cities of Dimmitt, Hart, Hereford and Milano as well as in rural areas of Deaf Smith County and Swisher County.
In addition to the individuals who were arrested on the day of the raid, 10 other defendants were already in state custody for other offenses. Four people are still at large. All of the defendants, who range in age from 32 to 58, have been charged with distribution of methamphetamine or conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine. Six of the defendants are also facing weapons charges such as possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime, felon in possession of a firearm and unlawful user of a controlled substance in possession of a firearm. If convicted, they could face up to life in prison on the drug charges and up to 10 years in prison on the firearms charges. The investigation was jointly conducted by officers from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the U.S. Marshals Service, Homeland Security Investigations, the Castro County Sheriff's Office, the Texas Department of Safety and several local police departments.
Legal professionals might advise individuals accused of drug crimes to invoke their right to remain silent and contact a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. The attorney might be able to protect a defendant's rights and work to get the charges reduced or dismissed.