A former sheriff from southern Missouri has been convicted of drug charges related to methamphetamine distribution. The man received a 12-year prison for his role in the distribution efforts. He was also sentenced to seven years for possession of meth, but his sentences will run concurrently. The man pleaded guilty to the drug charges.

The sentence handed down in the drug case will also be served concurrently with other charges that the man had faced from last year. He is already serving a decade-long prison sentence for possessing and selling a stolen firearm as well as being a drug user with a firearm. The weapons charges were federal crimes, while the drug charges were brought against the man by the state. The state case was tried in Jefferson County rather than in St. Louis proper, thanks to a venue change request.

Authorities report that the 33-year-old man was arrested in early April 2011, when he was charged with distributing both methamphetamine and cocaine. The man was accused of taking meth in front of a confidential informant involved with local officers. The man's deputy sheriff was also arrested on that same day. That 25-year-old woman is serving a five-year federal sentence because of weapons charges after she reportedly stole a gun from the department's evidence room. She is also facing burglary charges in an upcoming trial.

The defendants in this case both pleaded guilty to the charges they faced. Entering a guilty plea can open up a criminal case to additional negotiation between prosecutors and defense attorneys, sometimes yielding a decreased sentence or dismissed charges. The decision to plead guilty is not made easily for most defendants, and it is a move that should be carefully considered with the defense attorneys involved in the case.

If you are facing similar criminal charges, consider seeking the assistance of a qualified personal defense attorney. These professionals can protect your rights and maximize the outcome of your case from arraignment through sentencing and beyond.

Source:  stlouis.cbslocal.com, "Ex-sheriff gets 12 years on drug charges in Mo." No author given, Jun. 20, 2013