FORT WORTH, Texas — Following a four-day trial Thursday, a federal jury convicted seven defendants, including members and associates of the Aryan Brotherhood of Texas prison gang, for their roles in a methamphetamine distribution conspiracy that operated in North Texas from about January 2014 to April 2016.
U.S. Attorney John Parker of the Northern District of Texas announced the convictions. This case was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), and the Fort Worth Police Department.
Each of the below-listed defendants was convicted on one count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute 50 grams or more of methamphetamine.
- Charles Ben Bounds, aka “Pretty Boy,” 31, of Fort Worth;
- Billy Fred Gentry, aka “Fred Gentry,” 30, of Fort Worth;
- Kevin Kyle Killough, aka “Kilo,” 29, of Fort Worth;
- Billy Ray Skaggs, 48, of Brownwood, Texas.
- Michael Clay Heaslet, aka “Whisper,” 38, of Fort Worth;
- Nicole Cynthia Herrera, aka “Nikki Single,” 21, of Dallas, Texas; and
- Trae Short, aka “Twig,” 31, of Dallas.
One defendant, James Marcus Laxson, was acquitted.
The penalty for the offense is not less than five years or more than 40 years in federal prison and a $5 million fine. The defendants are scheduled to be sentenced by U.S. District Judge John McBryde, in February 2017.
The government presented evidence at trial that some of the defendants were members, including ranking members, or associates, of the Aryan Brotherhood of Texas. Further evidence was presented identifying the defendants and the role of each in the conspiracy. Text messages from some defendants’ phones, and recordings of phone calls from jail, were introduced that detailed their methamphetamine trafficking.
In addition, between April and August 2016, 80 defendants charged in drug conspiracy cases related to this one have pleaded guilty.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Shawn Smith and Frank Gatto, Northern District of Texas, are prosecuting this case.