LAREDO, TX (U.S. DISTRICT ATTORNEY'S OFFICE) - A 57-year-old man has been ordered to prison following his conviction of trafficking heroin, cocaine and nearly 12 kilograms of fentanyl, announced U.S. States Attorney Ryan K. Patrick. Jeffrey Layne Parker, of Belleville, Illinois, pleaded guilty Aug. 31, 2017.
U.S. Appellate Judge Kimberly Moore ordered Parker to serve a total of 168 months in federal prison to be immediately followed by five years of supervised release. At the hearing, additional evidence was presented including evidence that fentanyl is 30 to 50 times more powerful than heroin and that one gram of fentanyl can result in the deaths of between 300 and 500 people. The fentanyl found in Parker's car could have caused the deaths of up to 5.8 million people - more than the populations of Dallas, San Antonio and Houston combined. In handing down the sentence, Judge Moore denied Parker's requests for leniency, noting the quantities of narcotics found in Parker's possession, his extensive criminal record and the fact that Parker had transported narcotics loads at least four times.
Parker was first arrested March 7, 2017, after authorities found 16 packages of narcotics concealed in the trunk of Parker's car at the Border Patrol (BP) checkpoint just north of Laredo. The narcotics included 11.77 kilograms of fentanyl, 1.85 kilograms of heroin, 76 grams of cocaine and 1.41 kilograms of marijuana. He was arrested but later released following a medical issue.
Parker was arrested three months later on June 7, 2017. At that time, he approached the same checkpoint and agents found nine bundles containing 11.15 kilograms of heroin hidden behind the speakers in a Ford pickup truck he was driving.
Parker has been in federal custody without bond since his second arrest where he will remain pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future.
The Drug Enforcement Administration conducted the investigation with the assistance of BP. Assistant U.S. Attorney Mike Eaton is prosecuting the case.