The Herald Democrat reported on August 21, 2020, that Christopher Lamarr Sterkes, a 19-year-old McKinney man, was sentenced to 12 years in federal prison on drug and weapons charges in the Eastern District of Texas after pleading guilty to possession of a firearm by a drug user and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime. He was sentenced to a total of 144 months in federal prison.
A statement from U.S. Attorney Stephen. J. Cox said that on March 8, 2019, Sterkes met four men in a van in Anna intending to sell them approximately 14 grams of marijuana. The drug deal went south, and the men began assaulting Sterkes in an attempt to rob him of the marijuana instead of paying for it. According to the Daily Light, the shooting occurred near the intersection of Wylie Farm Road and Creekview Drive in Anna.
Sterkes was armed with a pistol and managed to escape from the van before firing three shots into the van as it drove away. One of the men inside the van, 16-year-old Alejandro Camacho, was struck by the gunfire and died.
The other three men in the car, Marcos Hernandez, 17, of Anna, Mario Garcia, 18, of Melissa, and an unidentified juvenile from McKinney were arrested on second-degree felony robbery charges. The Daily Light reported that an Anna Police Department investigation showed it was Hernandez who set up the meeting with Sterkes with the intention of robbing him.
Hernandez is currently serving a five-year prison term and Garcia was sentenced to 10 years, but information on the juvenile was not released. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives investigated the case along with the Anna Police Department and the Texas Department of Public Safety Texas Rangers, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Maureen Smith prosecuted the case as part of the Project Safe Neighborhoods Initiative.
Project Safe Neighborhoods is a nationwide initiative that brings together federal, state, local and tribal law enforcement officials, prosecutors, and community leaders to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in a community and develop comprehensive solutions to address them. Every United States Attorney is implementing a PSN program.
The United States Sentencing Commission (USSC) reported that 99.4 percent, or almost all offenders convicted under 18 U.S. Code (U.S.C.) § 924(c) were sentenced to imprisonment. Many of the offenders, 86.8 percent, convicted under 18 U.S.C. § 924(c) were also convicted of another offense, with the most common being drug trafficking (51.1 percent), followed by robbery (31.0 percent), and another firearms offense (7.8 percent).
The average length of sentence for offenders convicted under 18 U.S.C. § 924(c) was 165 months, the average length of sentence for offenders convicted only under section 924(c) was 109 months, and the average length of sentence for offenders convicted under both 924(c) and another offense carrying a mandatory minimum penalty was 190 months. For section 924(c) offenders who were determined to be career offenders, the average length of sentence was 252 months, and the average length of sentence for offenders convicted of multiple counts
of section 924(c) was 358 months.
Drug trafficking is one of the drug crimes that most risks federal involvement because drugs that are being sold or transported from other states create a situation in which the alleged offense has crossed state lines. The case above demonstrates the impact that drug trafficking activity can have on a federal case, with alleged offenders becoming susceptible to even steeper penalties for alleged weapons offenses.
Federal prosecutors are far more intimidating than their state counterparts, and a person is right to be concerned if they are facing federal charges of any kind. Common federal crimes prosecuted in Texas include drug crimes, fraud offenses, and some weapons crimes.
Federal cases do not unfold in the same way as the Texas criminal process. The first major difference is the involvement of a grand jury, which is a group of citizens that will decide whether the government has enough evidence to file a case against you at trial.
You should know that grand jury proceedings are typically private, but an alleged offender has the right to testify at their hearings. It may be unwise to testify at a grand jury proceeding in certain circumstances, so it will be wise for an alleged offender to consult an experienced criminal defense lawyer before deciding to do so on their own.
Even weapon and drug charges filed in state courts in Texas can carry serious penalties for alleged offenders. Whether you are dealing with state or federal charges, you will want to be sure that you have an attorney who can conduct their own investigation into the incident that led to your arrest so they can use all of the available evidence in your defense.
Were you recently arrested in Collin County for an alleged drug or weapons crime that you fear could involve possible federal courts? You should know that The Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy has appeared in federal courts on behalf of clients all over North Texas and we will be able to fight your criminal charges and attempt to secure the most favorable possible outcome to your case.
Our firm knows how stressful any criminal charge can be for the average person and we will do what we can to help put you in a much calmer place as we work to fight your charges and see if we can get them either dismissed or reduced. You will be able to have us look at your case and talk more about your options when you call (469) 304-3422 or contact us online to set up a free consultation.