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Press Release

Midland Man Sentenced to 23 Years in Federal Prison for Role in Methamphetamine Intoxication Death

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

In Midland today, Senior United States District Judge Robert A. Junell sentenced 23–year-old Zane Paul O’Neal to 23 years in federal prison followed by ten years of supervised release after admitting to his role in the death of Sandy Brooke Franklin last year announced United States Attorney Richard L. Durbin, Jr., and Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Special Agent in Charge Will Glaspy, El Paso Division. 

On October 22, 2015, O’Neal pleaded guilty to one count of distribution of methamphetamine that resulted in foreseeable death.

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.

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

Updated January 14, 2016

Drug Trafficking