A federal judge has sentenced the leader of a national methamphetamine trafficking ring to 30 years in prison. The ring was reportedly transporting a very pure form of the drug to southwest Virginia.
According to information released by the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Virginia, the defendant was one of dozens of individuals targeted during a 2017 joint law enforcement initiative called Operation California Dreaming, which focused on a cross-country methamphetamine trafficking ring. The operation led to the arrest of 28 people in Virginia, California, Georgia, and Tennessee.
The defendant, a 54-year-old resident of Rancho Mirage, California, pled guilty to one count of conspiring to possess with the intent to distribute 500 grams or more of methamphetamine. He was apparently in charge of arranging the transport of pure methamphetamine from his residence in California to locations in Virginia and Tennessee. He also established and coordinated a network of drug dealers to sell the meth to customers in those states. So far, 25 other defendants have also been convicted and sentenced for their participation in the ring. The sentences range from five years to 25 years in prison. One individual remains at large.
Defendants facing felony drug charges such as trafficking might be able to avoid some or all legal penalties with the help of a criminal defense attorney. By investigating the details surrounding the case, the attorney might develop a strong defense and successfully cast doubt on the prosecution’s version of events. In some situations, this may cause the charges to be dismissed before or during a trial. In other situations, it might be used as leverage to negotiate a plea deal that reduces the charges and results in a lighter sentence.