United States Attorney Rebecca A. Gregory
Eastern District of Texas
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: DAVILYN WALSTON
WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 20, 2008 PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICER
WWW.USDOJ.GOV/USAO/txe PHONE: (409) 839-2538 CELL: (409) 553-9881
JURY FINDS CALIFORNIA MAN GUILTY OF
FEDERAL DRUG CHARGES IN EAST TEXAS
LUFKIN, TX - United States Attorney Rebecca A. Gregory announced today that a 44-year-old Westminster, California man has been found guilty by a jury of federal drug charges in the Eastern District of Texas.
MICHAEL HERBERT JAMES was found guilty of conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute over 100 kilograms of marijuana today by a jury following a 2 ½ day trial before United States District Judge Thad Heartfield.
According to information presented in court, James' co-conspirator, Kenton Wyrick, also of Westminster, California, was arrested in January, 2007 while driving a recreation vehicle on Highway 59 in Nacogdoches, Texas. Officers performing a consensual search of the vehicle located over 600 pounds of marijuana. Further investigation determined that James had supplied his credit card for the rental of the vehicle, along with purchasing Wyrick's airline ticket which Wyrick used to travel to Texas, where he rented the recreational vehicle. Investigators also determined that in August, 2006, James traveled from California to Texas, where he similarly rented a recreational vehicle, which he then drove to the South Padre, Texas area, and then on to Chicago. Information provided to authorities indicated that this recreational vehicle was also loaded with marijuana, but James evaded detection on this trip, and successfully delivered the marijuana to its destination. On April 4, 2007, James was indicted by a federal grand jury and charged with conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute over 100 kilograms of marijuana in the Eastern district of Texas.
James faces up to 40 years in federal prison and a fine of up to $2 million at sentencing. A sentencing date has not been set. Wyrick pleaded guilty to the same charges and was sentenced on December 7, 2007 to 25 months in federal prison.
This case is being investigated by the Nacogdoches County Sheriff's Office and the Texas Department of Public Safety and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Reynaldo P. Morin.
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