A coordinated effort involving more than 300 state, local, and federal law enforcement officers resulted in a sweeping drug arrest in Castro County on March 5, 2020. In total, more than 33 individuals will now face federal charges related to drug trafficking, weapons violations, and other offenses.
This effort – overseen by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Texas – covered multiple sites across more than one county in the western part of Texas. In total, 29 of the 33 individuals charged were in custody at the time of writing. Ten of those defendants were already in state custody for other charges when the raid occurred.
According to a news release from the U.S. Attorney's Office, all 33 individuals will face drug charges. On their own, these offenses could carry severe penalties including steep fines and lengthy sentences to federal prison. In addition to federal drug offenses, six men also face a number of gun charges.
These federal weapons charges include a range of offenses, including felon in possession of a firearm, possession of a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking, and unlawful use of a controlled substance while possessing a firearm. These charges carry steep penalties independent of the drug case.
The raid was overseen by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) but involved an array of other agencies. These include the sheriff's offices of Castro, Swisher, and Deaf Smith counties. Also involved were local police departments and the Texas Department of Public Safety.
The raid targeted multiple sites tied to a methamphetamine trafficking ring. At the time of writing, law enforcement did not release the amount of contraband seized. The news release from the U.S. Attorney's Office stated only that a large number of illegal drugs and firearms were seized during the raids.
In a press release from the Castro County Sheriff's Office, it became clear this concentrated effort had been in the works for more than a year.
Defending Against Charges after a Large-Scale Raid in Texas
The defendants in these cases face varying charges, with some arrested on a single conspiracy charge while others face multiple drug and weapons offenses. All told, these drug offense defendants could face as much as 40 years in federal prison. In rare cases, the defendants could be at risk for a life sentence behind bars. The weapons charges could add an additional 10 years on top of the drug offenses.
While these offenses are serious, it is important to remember that all of these individuals are innocent until proven guilty. Large drug raids are chaotic affairs, meaning innocent people could get swept up when they have done nothing wrong. A Board Certified Criminal Defense and dedicated federal crimes defense attorney could investigate each count to determine if their client was wrongfully arrested.
Beating these charges could be possible even if you were specifically targeted by prosecutors. While police might have seized large amounts of drugs, they must still tie each person charged to a conspiracy to distribute them. This effort is not always successful, especially when the defendant has a skilled and experienced criminal defense attorney to rely on.