Four Dallas-area defendants pleaded guilty on Friday, October 31, in Lubbock to charges stemming from a prescription drug distribution conspiracy, reports U.S. Attorney Sarah R. Saldana of the Northern District of Texas.

According to the Department of Justice, John Conte Smith, 35, of Balch-Springs, Texas; Dallas-area residents, Crystal Nicole Burks, 29; Keith Deon Noel, 26; and Lee Santrell Boston, 35; each pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute hydrocodone and alprazolam.

The four defendants conspired with other parties to obtain and distribute hydrocodone and alprazolam – Schedule III and IV, respectively – between February and July of 2014. They were active in the Abilene, Lubbock and Dallas Divisions of the Northern District of Texas.

According to the Department of Justice, Smith would provide the other conspirators with legitimate prescription forms with fake patient information, who would then fill the prescription and return the medicine to Smith.

On May 22, 2014, Burks, Noel and Boston were arrested by the Abilene Police Department after trying to fill a prescription. Subsequently, a search warrant was executed on Smith’s home on July 2, which revealed multiple prepared and filled prescriptions under various names.

Each defendant faces a maximum statutory penalty of 10 years in federal prison and a $500,000 fine. U.S. District Judge Sam R. Cummings has ordered a pre-sentence investigation to be carried about before a sentencing date it set.

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