In an effort to jumpstart efforts to reform the criminal justice system, President Obama commuted the federal prison sentences of 61 drug offenders. The offenses were mostly for drug possession or intent to sell, and roughly 33 percent of those offenders were serving life sentences. All of those pardoned are expected to be released by July 28, and five of those who had their sentences commuted were from Texas.
On March 11, police in Beaumont, Texas, took three people into custody after drugs were found during a vehicle search. The officers reportedly conducted the search after the driver attempted to flee. Beaumont officers attempted to stop the vehicle at an intersection in Jefferson County. However, the driver allegedly refused to pull over and led the police on a car chase that lasted about five minutes.
Authorities say that they found methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia inside of a home belonging to a 47-year-old man on Jan. 3 in the Houston County city of Crockett, . Police first made contact with the man during a traffic stop and executed a search warrant after finding probable cause to suspect that he had large quantities of drugs inside his residence.
Texas residents might have heard about federal drug investigations involving high-level officials in Venezuela. On Dec. 15, a source said that the head of the country's national guard will be charged. Another general in the national guard, who has also held a position in the country's anti-drug office, will be charged as well.
On Nov. 21, two Texas women were arrested on drug charges in Friendswood. One of the suspects faces additional charges for allegedly spitting in a police officer's face. The incident happened shortly before 11 p.m.
On Nov. 9, a 19-year-old Texas woman was reportedly taken into custody after authorities found drugs inside her College Station apartment. In addition to five different types of drugs, police also allegedly found drug packaging material and a drug price list in the woman's bedroom.
According to the Bureau of Prisons, there were nearly 200,000 people in federal prison in 2012, and over 50 percent of them were serving time for drug offenses. Of those drug convictions, nearly all of them involved trafficking, and 35 percent of the defendants had no prior imprisonments or had minimal criminal histories. However, some Texas residents might be curious as to what drugs and type of people are most often involved.
A woman from Falls County in Texas was handed several drug charges on Sept. 13 after sheriff's deputies found her inside a home in Leroy that she did not have permission to visit. According to the property owner, he discovered the 56-year-old Falls County woman in his home while she was attempting to abscond with a piece of antique furniture. The homeowner reportedly detained the woman before McLennan County Sheriff's deputies arrived.
Texas residents may have heard that a Missouri man who was sentenced to life in prison for being in possession of marijuana was freed on Sept. 1 after spending two decades in prison. The man, age 62, was released after his relatives, lawmakers and other advocates spent years arguing that the sentence was too severe for the crime.
Texas basketball fans may be shocked to learn that an Atlanta Hawks forward was charged with felony drug offenses after he was reportedly pulled over in Atlanta on July 30. The forward, Mike Scott, was reportedly not driving the vehicle when the incident occurred.