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Oct. 3, 2011

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Drug Dealer Sentenced to 40 Years in Federal Prison

HOUSTON - A federal judge has sentenced Houston drug dealer Fred Joseph Cooper, 41, to 481 months in prison, United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson announced today along with J. Dewey Webb, special agent in charge of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).

Cooper, of Houston, was convicted in September 2010 by a Houston federal jury of all counts charged against him - two counts of possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance, two counts of possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug-trafficking crime and one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm. The jury returned its verdicts following a three-day-trial and less than two hours of deliberation.

Cooper was indicted in March 2009 following an investigation by the Houston Police Department (HPD) and ATF. In August 2008, HPD had been conducting surveillance which lead them to Cooper’s residence. There, they observed Cooper enter his residence but return shortly thereafter carrying a white bag which was later found to contain cocaine. 

During the trial, the jury heard evidence that Cooper operated a narcotics distribution center at 1212 Simsbury in north Houston that was fortified with a high fence, pit bulls loose in the yard and house as well as a heavily reinforced front door. HPD narcotics officers executed a search warrant on Aug. 19, 2008, and at that time, seized more than a kilogram of cocaine, approximately 45 grams of crack cocaine, a large quantity of crack cocaine-making equipment, three loaded firearms with extra ammunition and approximately $55,000 in drug-tainted cash.

U.S. District Judge Lee H. Rosenthal, who presided over the trial, sentenced Cooper to a total of 121 months for the possession with intent to distribute and felon in possession convictions. In addition, Cooper received sentences of 60 and 300 months for the two counts of possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug-trafficking crime which are each to be served consecutive to all other terms for a total prison term of 481 months. He was also ordered to serve an eight-year-term of supervised release following completion of his prison term.

As part of the sentence, the court ordered the forfeiture of the three firearms which were found in the August 2008 search of his residence. 

Cooper has been in custody since his August 2008 arrest where he will remain pending transfer to a Bureau of Prisons facility to be designated in the near future.

Assistant United States Attorneys Michael Kusin and David Searle prosecuted the case.