TWO LUBBOCK MEN PLEAD GUILTY IN MARIJUANA GROW AND DISTRIBUTION CASE
LUBBOCK, Texas — Two Lubbock residents, who operated an extensive marijuana grow and distribution operation, pleaded guilty today in federal court, announced U.S. Attorney James T. Jacks of the Northern District of Texas. Kyle Brandon Walker, 34, and Shawn Mark McCardell, 27, who have been in custody since their December 9, 2010 arrest, in an early morning operation conducted by investigators with the Lubbock Police Department, the Lubbock County Sheriff’s Office, the Crosby County Sheriff’s Office, the Texas Department of Public Safety and agents of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), entered their guilty pleas this afternoon before U.S. District Judge Sam R. Cummings. During that operation, law enforcement seized marijuana, firearms, and $870,797 in cash. Defendant Justin Michael Rascher, 21, is also charged in the case; he remains on bond and his trial date is pending.
Walker pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute 100 kilograms or more of marijuana and faces a maximum statutory sentence of not less than five or more than 40 years in federal prison and a $2 million fine. McCardell pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute 50 kilograms or more of marijuana and faces a maximum statutory sentence of 20 years in prison and a $1 million fine. Judge Cummings ordered a pre-sentence investigation report; a sentencing date will be set after the completion of that report.
As part of their plea agreements with the government, Walker and McCardell agree to forfeit substantial property that was derived from their narcotics trafficking activities, including $870,797 in U.S. currency; vehicles; firearms and real estate located on 47th Street and 48th Street in Lubbock.
All parties agreed that Walker was responsible for at least 100 kilograms, but less than 400 kilograms of marijuana and McCardell was responsible for at least 60 kilograms, but less than 80 kilograms of marijuana. Both Walker and McCardell possessed firearms and maintained a premise for the purpose of manufacturing or distributing a controlled substance.
DEA began investigating Walker in September 2010 for marijuana trafficking. According to a confidential source (CS), Walker was growing, harvesting and distributing large quantities of marijuana in the Lubbock area. The CS stated that he/she met Walker in May 2010 and purchased approximately one-quarter pound of marijuana from him shortly thereafter. The CS stated that he/she increased the quantities purchased from Walker, eventually purchasing as much as seven pounds of marijuana per week.
In October 2010, Walker told the CS that he was harvesting about 188 marijuana plants every 60 days at a location about an hour outside of Lubbock. He told the CS that he was making about $115,000 every two months from his marijuana sales and that he had been running his grow operation at that location for about two years. Based on these admissions, Walker had produced and distributed approximately 102.19 kilograms of marijuana over the past two years.
The case was investigated by the DEA, the Texas Department of Public Safety, the Lubbock County Sheriff’s Office, the Crosby County Sheriff’s Office, and the Lubbock Police Department.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeffrey Haag, of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Lubbock, is in charge of the prosecution
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