The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Oklahoma announced on Jan. 6 that a 46-year-old man and 46-year-old woman pleaded guilty to trafficking heroin and methamphetamine. The man is currently serving a life sentence for murder, and he is accused of using contraband cellphones to run a drug distribution network from his prison cell. The woman is the man’s wife, and she reportedly acted as his representative on the street. Authorities say she stored and distributed drugs and collected money from narcotics transactions.
The pleas are the culmination of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force operation that began in 2019. During the course of the investigation, the Federal Bureau of Investigation was assisted by the Oklahoma Department of Corrections and the Oklahoma City Police Department. The investigation led to the arrest and indictment of more than 40 suspects. U.S. attorneys say that 34 of the suspects have already entered guilty pleas. The other six are awaiting plea hearings or trials.
The man and woman will likely be sentenced in April or May. The man faces life in federal prison and a fine of up to $10 million. The woman faces a prison term of up to 25 years followed by three years of supervised release and a fine of up to $1 million.
Getting help from a criminal defense attorney
Experienced criminal defense attorneys may advise individuals arrested during operations like this to remain silent until a lawyer has scrutinized the case file and assessed the strength of the evidence against them. This is because law enforcement officers usually cast wide nets in these situations, and police do not always gather enough evidence to prove guilt beyond reasonable doubt against all of the suspects they take into custody. When the evidence against their clients appears to be lacking, defense attorneys might seek to have drug charges dismissed.