Drug crimes are taken very seriously in Texas, particularly when they are prosecuted at the federal level. The federal courts typically deal with drug cases when a federal officer makes the arrest, the offenses cross state lines, or the charges involve large quantities of drugs, trafficking, manufacturing, or intent to distribute narcotics.
Two roommates from Texas were recently sentenced to a combined 31 years in federal prison for drug offenses, according to a press release from the Acting U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas Prerak Shah.
Ramon Mendoza-Villegas, 45, and Daniel Sanchez-Mendoza, 28, were indicted for the crimes in February 2019. The Acting U.S. Attorney stated Mendoza-Villegas pleaded guilty to possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine in January 2020 and was sentenced in December 2020 to 240 months in federal prison. Sanchez-Mendoza pleaded guilty in January 2020 to possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine. He was sentenced to 135 months in federal prison in February.
The men were apprehended by Dallas Police during a traffic stop. Plea papers stated officers discovered heroin and methamphetamine in the vehicle Mendoza-Villegas and Sanchez-Mendoza were traveling in. The police searched an apartment where the two men lived on Brockbank Drive, Dallas.
The Dallas Police Department officers found and seized methamphetamine, heroin, an assault rifle, and a shotgun. The complaint stated these drugs were found in the back seat of a stolen vehicle parked inside the storage unit. Police seized almost 6,000 grams of meth and more than 2,500 grams of heroin from the property.
The Drug Enforcement Administration’s Dallas Field Division and the Dallas Police Department carried out an extensive investigation with the assistance of the U.S. Marshals Service and Homeland Security Investigations. Assistant U.S. Attorney Linda Requénez prosecuted the case, the press release stated. The men were sentenced by Chief U.S. District Judge Barbara M.G. Lynn.
Defendants who are tried and sentenced in the federal courts face a variety of federal mandates that impose mandatory minimum prison terms. The sentences are based on factors that include the schedules in which the drug involved in an alleged crime is listed. Federal laws apply different penalties for drugs listed in Schedule I, Schedule II, Schedule III, Schedule IV, and Schedule V of the Controlled Substances Act. Defendants may also be convicted under the Controlled Substances Import and Export Act that controls drugs flowing in and out of the United States.
People who are convicted of federal drug crimes typically serve significant time behind bars. First-time drug offenders are more likely to be dealt with at a state level where sentences may be lighter. However, most drug offenses are treated very seriously in Texas.
If you or a family member has been charged with a drug offense, it’s important to hire an attorney as soon as possible. Our experienced Dallas-based criminal defense team has a long track record of defending people in the federal courts. See more about federal offenses on our website or call (214) 720-9552.