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Dallas Inmate Indicted on Federal Drug Trafficking Crimes Related to Drone Drops at a TDCJ Facility

HUNTSVILLE, Texas - A Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) inmate has been arrested and charged with federal violations related to a conspiracy to use drones and mail to smuggle drugs and contraband into a TDCJ facility.

Yeshmel James Wright, 35, of Dallas, appeared in federal court this week and is charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine and conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute synthetic marijuana. If convicted, Wright faces up to life in federal prison.

In all, 42 individuals have been indicted on multiple counts of conspiracy to distribute drugs, money laundering, firearms violations, operating an aircraft to further drug trafficking and Hobbs Act robbery. The investigation has resulted in the seizure of multiple kilograms of methamphetamine, heroin, “M30” fentanyl pills, and synthetic marijuana. Additionally, approximately $150,000 in cash, jewelry, and vehicles have been seized.

Texas Department of Criminal Justice Executive Director Bryan Collier expressed his gratitude to local, state, and federal law enforcement officials, as well as prosecutors in the Eastern District of Texas, for disrupting this significant contraband operation. “I hope this indictment resonates with others who may want to smuggle contraband into our secure facilities. TDCJ will continue to work closely with the Office of Inspector General and federal authorities to combat criminal enterprises behind the prison walls.” TDCJ’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) assisted with the investigation as part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces operation. “The introduction of contraband into a prison facility can have significant public safety repercussions. I am grateful to OIG investigators and all law enforcement agencies who doggedly followed the evidence in this case and dismantled a significant operation,” said Inspector General Cris Love.

In addition to TDCJ’s OIG, the case is being investigated by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service; U.S. Marshals Service; IRS-Criminal Investigations; Homeland Security Investigations; U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration; Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; Lewisville Police Department; Little Elm Police Department; and Dallas Police Department. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Heather Rattan.

Wright is currently in the Fannin County Detention Center on a federal bench warrant. He was sentenced to 30 years in state prison in 2009 for aggravated robbery and eight years for burglary of a habitation out of Dallas County.