VICTORIA, Texas – A 37-year-old resident of Corpus Christi
has received a 174-month sentence for possession with intent to distribute
synthetic cannabinoids and illegally possessing a semi-automatic rifle,
announced Acting U.S. Attorney Abe Martinez.
James Richard Santos Jr. pleaded guilty Sept. 21, 2106.
At a hearing in Victoria federal court yesterday afternoon,
U.S. District Judge Joh D. Rainey ordered Santos to prison for 174 months for
the drug charge and another 120 months for being a felon in possession of a firearm.
The sentences will run concurrently. Following the more than 14-year sentence,
he will be on supervised release for three years.
Santos was found to be the organizer of a synthetic
cannabinoid organization. The investigation revealed Santos utilized storage
facilities in Corpus Christi and Houston to store the synthetic cannabinoids
and would transport and distribute them in South Texas.
Santos also has multiple prior convictions. As such, he is
prohibited from possessing a firearm or ammunition per federal law. However, in
the course of the investigation, authorities found a Sabra Defence Model XR15
semi-automatic rifle in his possession.
While in custody, Santos continued to provide direction to
others, even giving instructions to conceal
the charged firearm. Further, he used violence and intimidation to
control other co-conspirators.
Two others were also charged in relation to the synthetic
drug enterprise. They both previously entered pleas
of guilty and have been sentenced for their roles in this offense.
Santos will remain in custody pending transfer
to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future.
The Bureau Alcohol Tobacco, Firearms and
Explosives and Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security
Investigations conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Patti
Hubert Booth prosecuted the case.