Former Assistant D.A. gets 7 year sentence in marijuana distribution case

Published: May. 13, 2011 at 4:23 PM CDT|Updated: Dec. 15, 2014 at 1:13 AM CST
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LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - Two Lubbock residents, who admitted operating an extensive marijuana growing and distribution operation, were sentenced Friday by U.S. District Judge Sam R. Cummings, announced U.S. Attorney James T. Jacks of the Northern District of Texas.

Judge Cummings sentenced Kyle Brandon Walker, 34, and Shawn Mark McCardell, 27, to 87 months and 71 months, respectively, in federal prison.  In addition, Judge Cummings ordered that they forfeit $870,797 in cash and real estate located on 47th and 48th Streets in Lubbock.

Walker was at one time a part-time assistant District Attorney under former Terry County D.A. Dwayne Pruitt before leaving to pursue a private practice.

As part of their federal plea agreements, cars, a boat and firearms were forfeited to the Lubbock County District Attorney's Office.  The defendants have been in custody since their December 9, 2010, arrest during an enforcement operation conducted by investigators with the Lubbock Police Department, the Lubbock County Sheriff's Office, the Crosby County Sheriff's Office, the Texas Department of Public Safety and agents of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).  During that operation, law enforcement seized marijuana, firearms and $870,797 in cash.  Another defendant, Justin Michael Rascher, 21, is also charged in the case; he remains on bond and his sentencing date is pending.

Walker pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute 100 kilograms or more of marijuana and McCardell pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute 50 kilograms or more of marijuana.

All parties agreed that Walker was responsible for at least 100 kilograms, but less than 400 kilograms of marijuana and McCardell was responsible for at least 60 kilograms, but less than 80 kilograms of marijuana.  Both Walker and McCardell possessed firearms and maintained a premise for the purpose of manufacturing or distributing a controlled substance.

DEA began investigating Walker in September 2010 for marijuana trafficking.  According to a confidential source (CS), Walker was growing, harvesting and distributing large quantities of marijuana in the Lubbock area.  The CS stated that he/she met Walker in May 2010 and purchased approximately one-quarter pound of marijuana from him shortly thereafter.  The CS stated that he/she increased the quantities purchased from Walker, eventually purchasing as much as seven pounds of marijuana per week.

In October 2010, Walker told the CS that he was harvesting about 188 marijuana plants every 60 days at a location about an hour outside of Lubbock.  He told the CS that he was making about $115,000 every two months from his marijuana sales and that he had been running his grow operation at that location for about two years.  Based on these admissions, Walker had produced and distributed approximately 102.19 kilograms of marijuana over the past two years.

During the law enforcement operation on December 9, 2010, law enforcement searched Walker's property at White River Lake in Crosby County, Texas, and discovered an active marijuana indoor growing operation at that site, with approximately 527 marijuana plants at various stages of the cultivation process

Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeffrey Haag, of the U.S. Attorney's Office in Lubbock, prosecuted the case.  Assistant U.S. Attorney John de la Garza, of the U.S. Attorney's Office in Dallas, handled the forfeiture.

Information from: U.S. Department of Justice

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