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April 3, 2009


Co-defendant sentenced to 20 years

(LAREDO, Texas) - Ferrell Damon Scott, of Dallas, was sentenced to life behind bars for his role as a leader/organizer of a marijuana distribution ring which operated between Laredo and Dallas, Texas, acting United States Attorney Tim Johnson. A co-defendant also from the Dallas area, Artis Ryan Miller, was sentenced to 20 years incarceration for his role as a transporter. United States District Judge Micaela Alvarez sentenced the two men yesterday.

In February 2007, Scott began a marijuana distribution ring. As part of his operation, Scott would lease tractors in the Dallas area and hire drivers to transport marijuana from Laredo to the Dallas area. During his jury trial in July 2008, the United States presented evidence, including the testimony of cooperating co-defendants, that his operation had involved multiple loads totaling more than 1,000 kilograms of marijuana. Scott was convicted by the jury’s verdict of all counts - conspiracy to distribute more than 1,000 kilograms of marijuana and three separate counts of possession with intent to distribute more than 100 kilograms of the contraband.  

On Thursday, April 2, 2009, Judge Alvarez considered Scott’s three prior state felony drug convictions and the amount of the drugs he and his organization had been involved in distributing and sentenced him to the statutory minimum sentence of life imprisonment without parole for the conspiracy conviction. Scott was sentenced to 240 months imprisonment on each of the three possession with intent to deliver convictions. These sentences will be served concurrently. Judge Alvarez also imposed a $10,000 fine.

Artis Ryan Miller, one of the drivers of the drug organization hired by Scott, was charged with one count of possession with intent to deliver more than 100 kilograms of marijuana, as well as conspiracy to distribute more than 1,000 kilograms of marijuana. The jury, likewise, convicted Miller of all counts. Miller was facing a mandatory minimum of 10 years; however, because of his extensive criminal history and almost running over and killing a border patrol agent during the course of his escape in this case, the court sentenced him to 20 years incarceration for each count to run concurrently. The prison term is to be followed by a five-year-term of supervised release. Judge Alvarez also fined him $5,000.

The investigation leading to the charges was conducted by agents of the United States Border Patrol and Drug Enforcement Administration and was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys James Ustynoski and Sam Sheldon.



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