Texas National Guard Who Stole Meth Is Charged

A 20-year-old Texas Army National Guardsman recently deployed to Laredo to assist Customs and Border Protection at the World Trade Bridge allegedly stole approximately 1.5 kilograms of methamphetamine while on duty.

According to reports, the guardsman removed a picture frame he knew contained bundles of hidden methamphetamine and disposed of it in a Customs and Border Protection dumpster. He later returned to the dumpster, retrieved some of the hidden drugs, and took it to his hotel room.

He reportedly intended to use some of meth for personal use and sell the rest. This plan led to a hospitalization for a drug-induced emergency. The authorities arrested him following his release from the hospital.

The guardsman now faces federal charges of conspiracy and possession with intent to distribute, as well as theft of government property. If convicted of possession with intent to distribute, he will face 10 years to life in prison. He will face an addtional 10 years if convicted of the theft charge.

This case highlights the seriousness of federal drug crimes – even a first-time offense can be punishable by a decade or more in prison.

How the Law Defines Possession with Intent to Distribute

Both state and federal governments prohibit possession of controlled substances.

Under these laws, possession can constitute actual or constructive possession. In active possession, the individual must have the substance on their person at the time of arrest. In constructive possession, an individual need only to have the drugs within their control, such as in their home or vehicle.

To convict a defendant of the intent to distribute, the prosecution must prove that the defendant not only possessed the drugs, but that he or she was also planning or intending to distribute the drugs.

The intent to distribute is assumed when the defendant is holding a quantity too large for personal use. However, investigators will likely try to find other evidence of the defendant’s intent to distribute, such as packaging materials, large amounts of money, and communications with customers.

State Versus Federal Prosecution

Controlled substances are illegal at both a state and federal level, so drug crimes can be prosecuted in either state or federal courts.

Drug crimes that cross state or international borders, such as the above case, are generally prosecuted at the federal level. If the drug crime occurred within the same state, it falls under both state and federal jurisdiction, and the court systems determine whether it will be prosecuted at a state or federal level.

Generally speaking, federal prosecution is much more severe. Federal investigators have more resources to investigate than local law enforcement, making federal cases harder to defend against. Federal courts are also notorious for strictly enforced mandatory minimums, as well as for seeking the maximum possible sentence. Moreover, federal inmates do not have access to parole.

Federal drug crime charges require a defense attorney with special expertise in defending federal cases.

Federal Penalties for Possession with Intent to Distribute

Houston Drug Crfimes Attorney

As with any drug crime, possession with intent to distribute is sentenced based on the type and amount of substance the defendant allegedly intended to distribute.

Federal penalties for possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine are as follows:

  • 50-500 grams: 5-10 years
  • 500+ grams: 10 years-life

If the defendant has prior drug crime convictions, or if someone was seriously injured or killed as a result of the offense, the mandatory minimum is increased to 20 years. For a third or higher offense, the defendant is automatically sentenced to life in prison if convicted.

Your best chance at a positive outcome is to fight back with a strong defense.

Your best chance at a positive outcome is to fight back with a strong defense.