Federal, State, and Local Law Enforcement Target Drug Traffickers
In April 2021, law enforcement indicted 35 people for their involvement with the trafficking of methamphetamines in central Texas. After thorough investigation, the authorities believe that these defendants intended to distribute methamphetamines not only in Texas but elsewhere as well. This distribution allegedly took place between August 2019 and March 2021.
The arrests stemmed from the drug busts of two separate drug trafficking organizations. The authorities in central Texas seized more than 90 kilograms of methamphetamines, large sums of money, and a vast assortment of illegal firearms. Twenty-one people were indicted by a federal grand jury with conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute quantities greater than a kilogram of methamphetamines. Fourteen individuals were already in police custody, and the grand jury indicted them with the same criminal offense.
If convicted of the conspiracy charge, these defendants face between five and forty years in prison. Several of these individuals face harsher penalties due to the large quantity of drugs with which they were involved. These defendants may receive sentences of from ten years to life in federal prison. In addition to the conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute charge, some of the defendants face charges of money laundering. If these defendants are convicted of the money laundering charge, each individual could be sentenced to as much as 20 years in federal prison.
These arrests and indictments are the results of extensive collaboration among various branches of law enforcement at the federal, state, and local levels. The Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) conducted two separate investigations: Operation Glass Joe and Operation Island Time. The OCDETF “identifies, disrupts and dismantles the highest level criminal organizations that threaten the United States using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach.”
Law enforcement agencies involved in these investigations included the Hays County Sheriff’s Office, the FBI, the DEA, the Cedar Park Police Department, U.S. Immigration and Customs and Enforcement, the Texas Department of Public Safety, Enforcement and Removal Operations in Austin, as well as the Austin Police Department, the Georgetown Police Department, the Bastrop County Sheriff’s Office, the Bell County Sheriff’s Office, the Burnett County Sheriff’s Office, the Llano County Sheriff’s Office, and the district attorneys’ offices for the 33rd and the 424th Judicial Districts.
In December 2020, another investigation called Operation Spyder Web culminated in the arrest of 13 former and current University of Texas students. These individuals have been charged with conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance. The alleged drug trafficking took place primarily in West Campus.
The investigation, which started in 2019, revealed that the people arrested were selling counterfeit prescription drugs. The drugs they were distributing contained meth, fentanyl, and other dangerous opioids. Several of those arrested have also been charged with money laundering. If convicted, these individuals face ten years to life in prison.
A drug trafficking charge carries significant penalties. You need knowledgeable and experienced representation if you have been charged with a drug crime. Call Rosenthal Kalabus & Therrian at (972) 369-0577 for a free consultation.