More times than not as a white collar crime and fraud speaker I focus on the choices that people make and the consequences that follow. However, from time to time, I run across those stories that capture my attention for other reasons. This is one!
Seems that a federal jury has convicted Giovanni Teran, 19, on charges related to his involvement in a conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine from a drug house in Fort Worth, Texas. Teran faces a maximum statutory sentence of life in prison and an $8 million fine.
Now, one might ask, how did this 19 year old criminal get caught. Well, that’s where the story takes an unexpected twist. After receiving an anonymous Crime Stoppers tip, officers went to the residence of Teran and his co-defendant Luis Alonzo Pena and conducted a “knock and talk.” They were greeted at the door by Pena, who gave officers consent to search the residence.
When the officers entered the house they immediately noticed a strong odor, which they knew, based on their training, was consistent with the manufacture of methamphetamine. Pena led officers to a marijuana pipe on the kitchen counter.
The officers then conducted an organized search of the house with the aid of other officers from the Fort Worth Police Department and special agents from the Drug Enforcement Administration. During the search, officers found over seven kilograms of crystalized methamphetamine that was nearly 100% pure and two pots of liquid methamphetamine that would have produced 8.8 kilograms of pure crystalized methamphetamine. Officers also found some methamphetamine that had been “cut.” Officers also located scales, a heat sealer, bags used for packaging, a cutting agent, and chemicals to be used in combining the methamphetamine with the cutting agent. The total value of the drugs in the house was just under $2 million. The officers involved in the case testified that this was one of the largest stashes of pure methamphetamine that they had ever seen in Tarrant County.
Teran was found hiding in the backyard of the house. Once he was brought inside the house, Teran admitted that a set of keys and a cell phone inside the house belonged to him. One of the keys on that key ring opened the front door of the house. The jury also heard evidence that Teran had been at the house a number of times in the months leading up to the search.
Most of the time when a crime has been committed the criminal is not so willing to be discovered. So either one of two things must be fact: (1) Teran and Pena were really dumb and assumed that the police would be oblivious to the fact that they were cooking methamphetamine; or (2) Teran subconsciously wanted to be caught. Either way, the outcome will be a substantial prison sentence.
Every choice has a consequence. Fortunately due to Crime Stoppers a substantial amount of deadly methamphetamine has been removed from distribution and those involved are behind bars.