Three indicted on fentanyl-related charges
HOUSTON – Two Texas men are set to appear in federal court on charges of drug distribution that resulted in an overdose, announced U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Patrick.
A federal grand jury returned the nine-count superseding indictment against Joseph Raymond Weeks, 33, Katy, and Rhett Dwayne Farrell, 40, Pinehurst, Wednesday, July 1. They are expected to appear for their arraignment before U.S. Magistrate Judge Dena H. Palermo today at 2 p.m. Also charged is Jessica Wickman-Cano, 35, Katy, who is set to appearance today.
All were initially charged by criminal complaint on related offenses. They appeared before a U.S. magistrate judge who had ordered Weeks and Farrell into custody pending further criminal proceedings. Wickman-Cano was also initially remanded to custody, but was later granted release upon posting bond.
The new charges in the superseding indictment stem from an investigation into the drug overdose of a Montgomery County man. On Feb. 25, law enforcement and emergency personnel responded to an individual who was passed out in his vehicle, according to the charges. He was allegedly unresponsive, and they had to administer NARCAN to revive him.
The indictment alleges the man had overdosed on fentanyl and had purchased it from Farrell. Weeks was allegedly the source of supply.
The nine-count superseding indictment charges Weeks and Farrell with two counts each of conspiracy and possession with intent to distribute controlled substances which resulted in serious bodily injury. Additionally, Weeks and Wickman are charged with one count of possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance and one count of conspiracy to do the same, while Farrell is charged with two additional counts of possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance. Weeks is also charged with one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm.
If convicted, Weeks and Farrell face up to life in prison, while Wickman faces up to 20 years. All three could also be required to pay up to $1 million in fines.
Texas Department of Public Safety conducted the investigation with the assistance of the Drug Enforcement Administration, Montgomery County Narcotics Enforcement Team and police departments in Katy and Houston. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jimmy Leo, Michael Day and Christine Lu are prosecuting the case.
An indictment is a formal accusation of criminal conduct, not evidence. A defendant is presumed innocent unless convicted through due process of law.