United States Attorney John L. Ratcliffe
Eastern District of Texas
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: DAVILYN WALSTON
WEDNESDAY, MAY 23, 2007 PHONE: (409) 839-2538
WWW.USDOJ.GOV/USAO/txe CELL: (409) 553-9881
OPERATION ICEBOX DEFENDANTS PLEAD GUILTY
TYLER, TX – United States Attorney John L. Ratcliffe announced today that two Tyler men involved in Operation Icebox have pleaded guilty to federal drug violations in the Eastern District of Texas.
MICHAEL WRIGHT, 38, admitted to misprision of felony and JOHNNY GOMEZ, 26, admitted to possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine today before United States Magistrate Judge Judith K. Guthrie.
According to information presented in court, an investigation began in October 2004 into the distribution of “ice” methamphetamine in east Texas, Louisiana, and Florida. During this time, the investigation resulted in 22 undercover drug purchases, the purchase and seizure of at least 15 handguns and the seizure of at least four pounds of “ice” methamphetamine and amounts of marijuana and pharmaceutical drugs, the seizure of three vehicles and a safe containing approximately $300,000 cash. A 26-count federal indictment was returned in March of 2006 charging 19 co-defendants with federal charges, and an 18-count federal superseding indictment was returned February of 2007 charging 8 additional defendants with federal charges. Thus far in Operation ICEBOX, there have been 19 convictions, over $300,000 cash, cars, firearms, and one house seized, and $1.95 million in forfeiture judgments.
Wright faces up to three years in federal prison and a fine of up to $250,000 at sentencing, while Gomez faces up to 40 years in federal prison and a fine of up to $2 million at sentencing. A sentencing date has not yet been set.
This case is being investigated by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, the United States Marshals Service, the Texas Department of Public Safety, the Tyler Police Department, the Smith County Sheriff’s Office, and the Henderson Police Department. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys William Baldwin and Mary Ann Cozby.
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