In November of last year, six people were arrested for allegedly taking part in a large methamphetamine trafficking ring in and around Lubbock, Texas. Early this month, four of those defendants pleaded guilty in court to one count of possession with intent to distribute 500 grams or more of methamphetamine while the other two pleaded guilty to one count of possession with intent to distribute 50 grams or more of methamphetamine, according to the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
These charges come with a statutory penalty of 10+ years in federal prison plus a $10 million fine, and 5+ years in a federal prison and a $5 million fine, respectively. Another defendant involved in the case has chosen to go to trial instead of plead guilty and will be in front of a judge in February 2018.
Law enforcement pulled over the defendants for traffic violations at different times, seizing a total of 15 pounds of methamphetamine and firearms. Some of the defendants confessed to trafficking “pound-quantities” of meth in and around a number of major cities in Texas, according to ICE.
This is not an isolated incident, nor is it the only methamphetamine trafficking ring in town.
In North Texas, a man was convicted after a two-day jury trial on one charge of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute 500 grams or more of a substance containing a detectable amount of methamphetamine, according to ICE. He will not be sentenced until April, but will receive 10 years to life in a federal prison.
In this case, the man was not a trafficker, but the owner of an illegal gambling business and knowingly allowed members of the Aryan Brotherhood (AB) to traffic methamphetamine and conduct gang business on the premises.
In July of last year, Texas law enforcement officers seized 75 pounds of liquid meth hidden in cleaning jugs. In the fall, there were indications in and around Dallas that a new Mexican drug cartel shut down in the area in 2016 was back and implementing a massive methamphetamine trafficking ring. It is clear that methamphetamine is all over the state, in large quantities. It’s in high demand, and people are sacrificing their lives to use and sell it.
Texas Families in Crisis
The problem of methamphetamine use and abuse across the state is rapidly growing. It is triggering significant legal and law enforcement reaction, and it’s the cause of a steadily rising rate of drug overdose deaths. For families across Texas, the harm caused by methamphetamine is physical, mental, and emotional in nature, and like addictions to all substances of abuse, a meth use disorder significantly impacts the wellbeing of everyone in the family.
Often, family members struggle with:
- Financial loss: Those who have a methamphetamine use disorder often stay up for days on end, disrupting the entire household. This can mean disappearing for a few days at a time or being awake in the house keeping people up, depending on the individual, but it always means worry and a lack of ability to fully focus at work. For some, it means calling in sick too often, missing shifts, showing up late or leaving early, and being distracted on the job – all of which can lead to a cut in hours or job loss and extreme financial distress.
- Erratic and/or violent behavior of their loved one: It is common for someone under the influence of methamphetamine to stay up for days while on a binge and eat very little. The combination of sleep deprivation, malnutrition, and drug use can cause the person to hallucinate and/or become paranoid and delusional. This can quickly turn into a nightmare for family members who have no idea what will happen next or when.
- Depression or anxiety: Living with someone who has a chronic illness is always difficult on the rest of the family, and an addiction disorder is no different. It can be exhausting emotionally and physically, and when this continues for months or years, depression and anxiety can result.
- Isolation: When a loved one exhibits erratic behavior and openly experiences the consequences of drug use, it can be isolating to family members who feel like they have to cover up the problem and keep everyone around them from finding out. The lying and inability to become a connected part of a community as a result can be isolating and heartbreaking for family members.
If someone you love is struggling with methamphetamine addiction, know that you are not alone. There is support, treatment, and help for both you and your loved one. Are you ready to learn more about your options for treatment in 2018 and start forging a positive path forward?