Three Defendants Sentenced For Roles In Large Scale Drug Conspiracy That Operated In The Wichita Falls Area
One Defendant Sentenced to 480 Months in Federal Prison
WICHITA FALLS, Texas —Three Wichita Falls, Texas area residents, who pleaded guilty earlier this year to their roles in a large scale methamphetamine distribution conspiracy, were sentenced yesterday morning in federal court in Wichita Falls, announced U.S. Attorney Sarah R. Saldaña of the Northern District of Texas.
Anthony Rueben Johnston, 28, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Reed C. O’Connor to 480 months (40 years) in federal prison. Judge O’Connor sentenced Rachel Dawn Billen, 20, and Christina Gail Thompson, 32, to 36 months and 42 months, respectively. Each of the defendants pleaded guilty earlier this year to one count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine. All are in custody.
Four other defendants charged in the case, Louis Griego, Jr., Janis Hernandez, James Allan Holley and Darren Scott Murphy, Jr., also pleaded guilty; their sentencing dates are scheduled during the next few months.
According to documents filed in the case, between October 25, 2012, and February 21, 2013, Johnston possessed and distributed methamphetamine that he received from his supplier, co-defendant Murphy. On October 25, 2012, officers with the Wichita Falls Police Department executed a state search warrant at Johnston’s residence. On February 15, 2013, investigators with the Wichita County District Attorney’s Office executed a second state search warrant at Johnston’s home. During those searches notes identifying customers and amounts owed, small plastic bags, a digital scale, firearms and methamphetamine were located. Johnston also admitted that during conversations he had with co-defendant Griego on February 18, 19 and 20, 2013, he told Griego that law enforcement had not found methamphetamine that was hidden inside a wall heater in his residence. He instructed Griego to get the methamphetamine and sell it. Law enforcement, however, seized the methamphetamine before Griego was able to distribute it.
Billen, who lived with Johnston, admitted that co-defendant Johnston supplied the methamphetamine she distributed. She also admitted that when customers wanted to obtain methamphetamine from Johnston, they contacted her and she, in turn, contacted Johnston. Billen also admitted that she told law enforcement officers that the firearm they seized from Johnston’s residence on October 25, 2012 was hers, when, in fact, it was not and told law enforcement it was to assist Johnston in avoiding prosecution for possessing it.
Thompson, who lived with co-defendant Holley, admitted that on multiple occasions between September 2012 and November 20, 2012, she sold methamphetamine that was supplied to her by co-defendant Murphy, to customers in the Electra, Texas and Wichita Falls areas. Thompson also admitted that on November 16, 2012, she and Holly obtained three ounces of methamphetamine from Murphy at co-defendant Hernandez’s residence in Burkburnett, Texas. Later that day, however, a Wichita Falls County Sheriff’s deputy executed a traffic stop on a vehicle that Holley was driving and in which Thompson was riding. After the vehicle stopped, a deputy observed Thompson exit the vehicle, walk away and drop something, which was later determined to be a small plastic bag containing smaller bags of methamphetamine. On November 20, 2012, law enforcement executed a state search warrant at the residence that Thompson and Holley shared in Electra and among other things, recovered notes identifying several methamphetamine customers and money owed to Thompson and Holley.
The Texas Department of Public Safety, the Wichita Falls Police Department, the Wichita County District Attorney’s Office and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives investigated.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Mary F. Walters is in charge of the prosecution.