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8 people named in drug trafficking indictment

On Aug. 3, FBI agents and local authorities in Texas apprehended seven people who are suspected of drug trafficking. The defendants were detained in El Paso County, and they range between the ages of 25 and 68 years old. A 35-year-old man who is suspected of being involved with the same alleged drug trafficking operation was previously detained in June.

The indictment charged all eight with one count each of conspiracy to distribute cocaine. According to the indictment, the defendants conspired to distribute over 500 grams of cocaine from August 2014 to June 2016. In addition to the drug charge, the 35-year-old man has also been charged for possession of 12 firearms in furtherance of a cocaine distribution conspiracy. He could face a maximum sentence of life in prison.

Part of the investigation included several search and seizures that took place in June. Local, state and federal authorities allegedly found 26 firearms, one kilogram of cocaine and around $63,000 during their searches. All of the defendants could be sentenced to a maximum of 40 years in federal prison if they are convicted for the cocaine conspiracy charge. One defendant could be sentenced to 20 years in prison if he is convicted of maintaining a residence for manufacturing, storing, distributing and using cocaine.

When authorities investigate what they believe to be an organized drug trafficking ring, they may file charges against people who were not actually involved in any of the group's activities. A person who has been wrongly named in an indictment may want to discuss defense strategies with a criminal defense attorney. An attorney may be able to help a defendant to negotiate for reduced charges by arguing that the defendant was not connected to an alleged criminal organization.

Source: KFOX 14, "Update: El Paso County drug sting operation results in 8 arrests," Jamel Valencia, Aug. 3, 2016

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