July 31, 2008

Four Men Sentenced On Gun, Drug Charges

Staff Writer

Four men were sentenced Wednesday to federal prison for drug and gun crimes.

Raul Berumen Briseno, 30, of Longview, was sentenced to seven years and three months for conspiring with three others to possess and distribute 500 grams or more of methamphetamine.

Briseno was indicted, along with Michael Layne Smith, 40, of Kilgore, Jesse Joseph Montoya, 26, of Longview and Santiago Montiel Aguirre, 30.

Briseno pleaded guilty, admitting that on June 1, 2007, he received a telephone call from Smith and discussed meeting him to sell him 1 pound of meth. Briseno and Aguirre met Smith in Gregg County to distribute the drugs, but were arrested. Law enforcement searched Briseno’s vehicle and found two cereal boxes, each containing 1 pound of meth.

Defense attorney James Scott Hacker told the judge that he believed his client was very remorseful, said he wouldn’t commit future crimes and he would be deported.

Briseno, through a Spanish-speaking interpreter, told U.S. District Judge Leonard Davis he was sorry for everything and asked for forgiveness for the harm he did.

When the defendant is released from prison, he must surrender himself to immigration officials for deportation proceedings, Davis ordered. He also recommended Briseno undergo drug treatment.

Smith and Montoya have pleaded guilty in the case and have been sentenced to seven years and eight years, respectively, while the indictment against Aguierre was dismissed.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Richard Moore prosecuted the case.

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