Crime

Men accused of meth-trafficking face stiff penalties

DRUG ENFORCEMENT ADMINISTRATION 
 Tjhis is crystal meth the DEA confiscated in South Mississippi in August 2009.
DRUG ENFORCEMENT ADMINISTRATION Tjhis is crystal meth the DEA confiscated in South Mississippi in August 2009.

GULFPORT -- Two Texas men face trial on a drug-trafficking charge that carries the stiffest of federal penalties for the distribution of pure meth.

Sergio Contreras, 37, of Penitas, Texas, and Oscar Martinez, 27, of Weslaco, Texas, are accused of conspiring to possess and distribute meth in its purest form for more than two years in George County and around South Mississippi.

If convicted, they each face 10 years to life in prison.

An indictment filed in Gulfport alleges they distributed meth from January 2013 until July 22, the date of the indictment,

Pure meth is known as crystal meth or "ice." It's sold as crystals or rocks but also has been found in liquid or tablet form. Most pure meth found in the United States comes from super labs in Mexico, according to a Drug Enforcement Administration bulletin.

Contreras and Martinez distributed more than 50 grams of pure meth, the indictment said. The charging document does not state an exact amount. An amount in excess of 50 grams is what qualifies for the stiffest of meth penalties.

Both men were arrested in August and denied bond in federal court appearances in Houston. They were brought to Gulfport in September.

They have a tentative trial date of Nov. 2 and a pre-trial conference on Oct. 20.

Court records indicate the trial could be delayed. A public defender representing Martinez has withdrawn from the case, citing a conflict of interest protected by attorney-client privilege.

U.S. Magistrate Judge John Gargiulo appointed a new attorney Wednesday.

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