A 58-year-old Texan is now facing life behind bars in a federal prison for his role in a conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine. This is the most recent sentence stemming from a long-running investigation into drug activity that ran from Mexico to Tennessee.
Back in early 2017, federal agents received a tip from a confidential informant about drug activity in a Tennessee home. Police ultimately raided the home and recovered a vacuum sealer, a money counter and about $500,000 in cash -- all signs that heavy drug distribution operation was taking place.
It didn't scare off the suspects. Through wiretaps in late 2017, investigators learned that the Texan and his brother were working on a shipment of drugs from Mexico and another from Atlanta, Georgia. The plan was to convert the liquid product into a powder for easier distribution. Federal investigators arranged for the car being used to transport the drugs into Tennessee to be stopped once it was over the border. After a lengthy search, the meth was located in a hidden compartment. In total, they discovered 44.85 kilograms of a 98% pure product -- a massive find with a tremendous estimated value once it had been diluted for sale.
The converted drug rate (once it had been cut and powdered) would have been 2,660,000 kilograms -- and this is what the defendant was ultimately charged with trafficking. Federal prosecutors called the ring the single largest supplier of meth in the Western District.
Regardless of anyone's feelings about the justification behind the charges and the defendant's ultimate sentence, this case is illustrative of how carefully federal authorities will pursue a case for years, if necessary, in order to get that "big bust." Anyone who suspects that they're under investigation for drug trafficking -- even if they're only playing a minor role in a large operation, would be well-advised to seek legal help early on.