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Press Release

Midland Man Pleads Guilty to Role in Methamphetamine Intoxication Death

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of Texas

In Midland, 22–year-old Zane Paul O’Neal faces an agreed sentence of 23 years in federal prison after pleading guilty this afternoon to his role in the death of Sandy Brooke Franklin earlier this year announced United States Attorney Richard L. Durbin, Jr., and Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Special Agent in Charge Will Glaspy, El Paso Division.

According to court records, on July 29, 2015, Sandy Brooke Franklin began exhibiting signs of illness while being held in the Midland County Jail.  She informed the jail staff that she had previously concealed a quantity of methamphetamine prior to arriving at the facility and had subsequently swallowed the methamphetamine.  Franklin was taken by jail staff to Midland Memorial Hospital where she later died.

On July 27, 2015, Franklin, who had an outstanding warrant for her arrest, was taken into custody following a traffic stop on a vehicle being driven by the defendant, O’Neal.  Further investigation revealed that O’Neal was a methamphetamine supplier in the Midland area.  By pleading guilty, O’Neal admitted to providing approximately three grams of methamphetamine to Franklin so she could hide it from law enforcement during the traffic stop.  O’Neal further admitted that several hours after Franklin’s arrest, she called him and told him that she had “eaten” the methamphetamine.  A recorded jail phone call from Franklin to O’Neal confirmed that O’Neal provided the methamphetamine to Franklin and directed her to ingest it.  O’Neal, admittedly, did not notify anyone of Franklin’s condition.

O’Neal remains in federal custody awaiting sentencing.  A sentencing date has yet to be scheduled.

This case was investigated by the DEA, the Midland Police Department and the Midland County Sheriff’s Office.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Brandi Young is prosecuting this case on behalf of the Government.

Updated October 22, 2015

Drug Trafficking