On April 7, it was reported that a man who was thought to be the leader of a drug trafficking ring that was active in East Texas turned himself into authorities. Officials from Smith County said that the man was responsible for overseeing a minimum of 15 marijuana cultivation sites that were located in numerous counties.

In late July 2015, multiple law enforcement agencies began a joint investigation that was dubbed Operation Joint Venture after finding three marijuana cultivation sites. At this point, an estimated 22,000 marijuana plants were seized. The accused man became the subject of the investigation. The man, who is a U.S. citizen, was considered to be a fugitive.

Three others who were allegedly involved in the marijuana cultivation operation were taken into custody on March 7. At the time, authorities stated that they were looking for 13 others.Authorities stated that they have seized approximately 77,000 plants that were worth about $101,640,000.

People who have been issued drug trafficking charges could potentially face a jail sentence depending on the type and amount of drugs. A criminal defense attorney may assist with challenging the charge especially if there is little evidence connecting the drugs that were seized to the defendant. In some cases, the attorney may also attempt to have the charge dropped if law enforcement officials violated the defendant’s constitutional rights when they conducted the search that led to the seizure of the drugs. When this strategy is not appropriate, however, the attorney could seek to strike a deal with the prosecution involving a guilty plea in exchange for a lower penalty.

Source: KLTV, “Smith County sheriff: ETX drug trafficking leader turns self in to law enforcement“, Ashley Slayton, April 7, 2017