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Police arrest suspect in drug ring

From Staff Reports
March 6, 2011 at 11 p.m.

The fifth and final defendant in a 2008 federal drug conspiracy case appeared in federal court Monday after being nabbed early last week.

Longview police arrested 31-year-old Anthony Wayne Mathis on Feb. 28 at Walmart in the 2400 block of Gilmer Road. Police spokeswoman Kristie Brian said police followed Mathis to the location on a tip from the FBI.

Mathis, who also uses Thomas as an alias last name, had eluded lawmen since an August 2008 federal indictment alleging he and four other Longview men - Devetrick Tramel Johnson, John Richard Harmon Jr., D'Angelo Laserre Thomas and Dedric Mandell Thomas - conspired to distribute crack cocaine in the area.

Between October 2005 and August 2008, Mathis conspired to possess and distribute at least 50 grams of crack cocaine, according to an affidavit from FBI special agent Cliff Carruth. If convicted, Mathis faces between 10 years and life in prison, and fines not to exceed $4 million, court documents showed.

In a 14-minute hearing in Tyler federal court, Judge Judith K. Guthrie appointed Tyler attorney Jim Huggler to serve as Mathis's public defender, online records showed. Jury selection and trial were set for May 3 before Judge Leonard Davis. Mathis waived his right to a detention hearing and will remain in U.S. Marshal's custody.

Other defendants in the case were sentenced by federal judges in early 2009. Johnson received 10 years in prison, while Harmon received 78 months; D'Angelo Thomas received 46 months; and Dedric Thomas received 82 months in prison. Fines for all four men were waived.



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