Crystal meth couriers get prison, fines


GULFPORT -- Two South Mississippi men have been ordered to prison and fined for bringing crystal meth from Texas to Harrison County for distribution.

James D. Byrd, 51, of Vancleave, and Joseph W. Moran Jr., 38, of Saucier, were each sentenced Thursday on a charge of interstate travel in aid of drug racketeering enterprises.

U.S. District Judge Sul Ozerden gave Byrd a 60-month prison term, the maximum sentence, and fined him $3,000.

Ozerden gave Moran a 50-month prison term and fined him $1,500.

The judge also ordered three years' probation for both.

Crystal meth is the purest form of methamphetamine.

Harrison County deputies had conducted a traffic stop May 19 on a littering violation. The men had been traveling with a pound of crystal meth in a black bag and a smaller bag of crystal meth and a pipe concealed in a flashlight, court records show.

The men said they had bought the meth earlier that day from a woman at a hotel in Channelview, Texas. Houston police raided the woman's hotel room, and drug agents said hotel surveillance footage showed Moran and Byrd leaving the hotel with the black bag of meth found in the traffic stop.

Byrd and Moran were charged in a three-count federal indictment filed June 2 during related investigations of meth trafficking.

Their charges included one count each of conspiracy, possession with intent to distribute meth and the lesser charge of interstate travel.

They each pleaded guilty in October to the lesser charge of interstate travel for drug racketeering. Their other charges were dismissed in exchange for their guilty pleas.