Monday, December 10, 2012
17 North Texans sentenced in Flower Mound heroin arrests
But, officials are not optimistic that prison deters further drug use for addicts.
FLOWER MOUND The sentencing has been handed down for the individuals arrested on heroin charges in Flower Mound last year.
Seventeen individuals were arrested in May 2011 for their involvement in a conspiracy to deliver heroin. Three individuals faced weapons charges as well. Capt. Wess Griffin of the Flower Mound Police Department said the group’s actions led to the deaths of three Flower Mound teenagers from heroin overdoses.
The police department’s investigation spanned about a year and involved the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and later the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF).
On November 15, the United States District Court of the Eastern District of Texas completed its sentencing.
Griffin said the length of the sentencing is based on a set of guidelines the federal government has. Factors that go into the guidelines include age, criminal history, and cooperation. Griffin said that explains why there is a wide range in the suspects’ sentencing.
But none of the individuals face the maximum sentence of 40 years in federal prison.
Flower Mound residents Anthony Edward Cathlina and Alexandre David Ward, both 20 at the time of their arrests, received the longest sentence of 120 months in prison.
Flower Mound resident Brendan Michael Jackson, 19, received 90 months.
Irving’s Kevin Lee Oates, 39, was sentenced to 78 months, and Flower Mound’s Joseph Tyler Hoffman, 19, received 71 months.
Highland Village’s Cody Ray Jones, 20, and Corinth’s Jacob Andrew Haley, 20, each received 62 months.
Lewisville’s Matthew Curtis Anderson, 21, received 60 months, Grapevine’s Taylor Nicole Lane, 19, received 51 months, and Flower Mound’s Adam Michael Evans, 20, received 46 months.
Three individuals received 60 months probation: Highland Village’s Sarah Hutcheson, 18, Lewisville’s Csaba Zoltan Bazsa, 19, and Flower Mound’s Nicholas A. Parker-Vanalstyne, 20. Parker-Vanalstyne also received 60 days of home confinement.
Flower Mound’s Scott Aaron Schmalholz, 21, received 36 months of probation.
Flower Mound’s Travis Neel, 20, and James Riley Greenwood, 23, had their cases dismissed.
The sentence is pending for Denton resident Travis Clark Tucker, 23.
Schmalholz, Evans, and Tucker also had weapons charges along with their drug charges.
But Griffin said there were no incidents of violence with these individuals.
“Weapons were not used in the commission of a crime,” Griffin said. “These two individuals were felons in possession of a firearm, and if you’re a convicted felon, you can’t have a firearm. This just goes with the territory. They weren’t moving firearms, but when people deal in the illegal black market, they need to protect themselves.”
Griffin also said the group was not part of a large drug ring or scheme.
“Everyone assumes that Oates was the ringleader because of his age,” Griffin said. “Like this was an organized crime ring. But their relationship was one of convenience. Everyone here had an addiction, and that forced them to make contacts. They knew addicts because they were slaves to addiction. All of them sold and used heroin, but this was not a big scheme to make money. This wasn’t like a cartel, and there wasn’t a massive amount of narcotics. It was a bunch of addicts struggling with addiction.”
Griffin also said Hutcheson was the only school-aged person arrested. But he said she attended Marcus High School two years before the arrest and then transferred to a private school.
As far as whether the arrests and sentencing will set an example, Griffin said he doubts it will.
“I don’t think sentencing is a deterrent, especially with narcotics,” Griffin said. “If someone is in the throws of addiction, they will do anything to feed it.”
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