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April 27, 2012

Prison sentences issued in south Hunt County drug case

GREENVILLE — A West Tawakoni resident has been sentenced to prison, and was assessed huge fines, after being convicted of running a drug trafficking operation from a home in South Hunt County.

Mark Lee Sherrod, 27, was found guilty Wednesday by a jury in the 196th District Court of one count of manufacture/delivery of a controlled substance, namely methamphetamine and one count of possession of marijuana.

The same panel sentenced Sherrod to 35 years in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice-Institutional Division for the former count — with a $10,000 fine — and five years in prison on the latter indictment — with a $7,000 fine — with the sentences to run concurrently.

Hunt County District Attorney Nobie D. Walker Jr. credited his First Assistant, Keli Aiken, for the successful prosecution, as well as the investigators with the Hunt County Sheriff’s Office.

“The facts of this case certainly warranted the Jury’s verdict and sentence,” Walker said. “This defendant was a major supplier and we’re pleased that he received significant penitentiary time.”

Sheriff Randy Meeks ackowledged the efforts of his office’s Narcotics Division.

“Lt. Larry Proctor and Investigator David Wilson did an outstanding job on bringing this drug dealer to justice,” Meeks said. “Sherrod has several arrests for narcotics charges and I am proud that this drug dealer will spend time in the penitentiary where he belongs.”

Sherrod was one of two people, along with Kevin Vandergiessen of Quinlan, who was indicted by the Hunt County grand jury in August of last year. The pair were alleged to have been in possession of between four and 200 grams of methamphetamine and between five and 50 pounds of marijuana when deputies with the Hunt County Sheriff’s Office conducted a raid on home north of Quinlan in November 2010.

The action was one of the first conducted by the sheriff’s NEST Team, a drug enforcement initiative which targets methamphetamine usage in Hunt County.

After a search warrant was executed at a residence on Private Road 2285, officers recovered seven pounds of marijuana, 95 grams of methamphetamine and cash, along with several weapons from handguns to assault rifles, some of which were illegal. The search of the home also allegedly uncovered pornographic DVDs.

A new warrant has been issued for Vandergiessen, who failed to appear to be tried alongside Sherrod.

Sherrod was facing maximum sentences of up to life in prison for convictions on the methamphetamine charge and 10 years in prison on the marijuana indictment.

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