Law Enforcement Arrests Defendants Charged in Large Scale Drug Conspiracy
WICHITA FALLS, Texas — Following a multi-agency law enforcement operation yesterday, 22 defendants charged in a federal superseding indictment with conspiring to possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine are in federal custody, announced U.S. Attorney Sarah R. Saldaña of the Northern District of Texas. The superseding indictment was returned last week by a federal grand jury in Dallas and unsealed today.
Each of the defendants charged in the superseding indictment is charged with at least one count of conspiracy to distribute a Schedule II controlled substance. In addition, some of the defendants are charged with substantive drug distribution offenses and firearms offenses. Defendants will begin making their initial appearances today in U.S. District Court in Wichita Falls before U.S. Magistrate Judge Robert K. Roach.
A federal indictment is an accusation by a grand jury and a defendant is entitled to the presumption of innocence unless proven guilty. If convicted however, the conspiracy counts carry a maximum statutory sentence of not less than 5 years or more than 40 years in prison and a $2 million fine. The substantive drug counts carry a maximum statutory sentence of 20 years in prison and a $1 million fine. The firearms counts carry a maximum statutory sentence of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. In addition, the indictment includes a forfeiture allegation which would require the defendants to forfeit to the U.S. all proceeds obtained as a result of their offense.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Wichita Falls Police Department, Arlington Police Department, Texas Department of Public Safety, U.S. Secret Service and U.S. Marshals Service are investigating.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Mary F. Walters is in charge of the prosecution.
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