A California man said to be the leader of a drug-trafficking organization has admitted directing shipments of at least 14 pounds of crystal meth to Pascagoula.
Michael Eugene Moore, 44, of Fresno accepted a plea deal Tuesday in federal court, avoiding a possible maximum prison term of 80 years on a four-count indictment.
He remains in custody and now faces up to 20 years in prison.
Moore directed the operation while on parole in California and while four of his accomplices received prison terms of 14 to 23 years, Assistant U.S. Attorney Shundral Cole wrote in a court filing.
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The shipments to Pascagoula were sent via several shipping services and involved numerous people in the Fresno area and around the Mississippi Coast, she said.
The indictment listed three drug-trafficking incidents in Jackson County in March 2015 and September 2015. But the conspiracy charge, to which Moore pleaded guilty, said he had trafficked meth at least four years — from as early as 2013, one year after his release from prison.
Narcotics agents had seized numerous shipments of meth in Pascagoula and made several arrests before the dates listed in the indictment, Cole said.
After the arrest of Moore’s “lieutenant” in April 2015, an undercover federal agent began communicating with Moore, which led to more shipments of meth, and his arrest in Fresno in May.
U.S. District Judge Sul Ozerden will sentence him Jan. 27.