In the first federal criminal trial in Wichita Falls in more than eight years, a drug dealer has been convicted of a marijuana conspiracy, announced U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas Erin Nealy Cox.
Chad Anthony Ray, 31, of Wichita Falls, was indicted in July 2019 for conspiring to distribute marijuana along with six codefendants.
A jury convicted Mr. Ray late last week following a day-long trial before U.S. District Judge Reed C. O’Connor, who traveled from Fort Worth to Wichita Falls to preside over the proceedings.
According to evidence presented at trial, Mr. Ray’s coconspirators shipped marijuana through the U.S. mail from Oregon to Wichita Falls. Over an 18-month period (March 2015 to September 2016), they shipped approximately 1,100 pounds of marijuana in 443 Priority Mail parcels to Wichita Falls and surrounding cities, including Henrietta and Iowa Park.
Other conspirators received the parcels of marijuana – shipped in Priority Mail boxes so that the defendants could track the packages – then repackaged it, sold it, and returned the proceeds to the suppliers in Oregon.
“The U.S. Attorney’s Office is adamant about prosecuting illicit substances shipped through the U.S. Mail to the Northern District of Texas,” said U.S. Attorney Erin Nealy Cox. “We will not allow criminals to harm the community by exploiting the Postal Service.”
At trial, prosecutors showed that Mr. Ray personally received 29 packages of marijuana directly to his residence on Collins Avenue in Wichita Falls, collected money for marijuana sales, and tracked packages shipped to other addresses using the USPS tracking number.
He now faces up to 20 years in federal prison.
Five of his codefendants – Randall Dizon, Jonathan Michael Fernandez, Jarrett Devon Grant, Ronald Vance Latimer, and Justin Kent Reed – pleaded guilty before trial. The sixth, Dustin Weaver, remains a fugitive.
The case was investigated by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the Wichita Falls Police Department, and the Texas Department of Public Safety. Assistant U.S. Attorney Mary Walters and Joseph Magliolo prosecuted the case.
Erin Dooley, Public Affairs Officer