TEXARKANA, Texas–Two men charged in separate cases related to the distribution of deadly street-level fentanyl in the Texarkana region appeared for plea hearings Wednesday in federal court.
Derek Whitson, 35, entered a plea of guilty to possession with intent to distribute fentanyl at a proceeding before U.S. Magistrate Judge James Boone Baxter.
Whitson signed documents admitting that he helped arrange for the sale of thousands of illicit fentanyl pills on several different dates last year, according to records filed in his case in the Texarkana Division of the Eastern District of Texas.
Whitson sold an undercover operative 2,000 pills containing fentanyl for over $3,000 on Aug. 10 at a location in Texarkana, Ark., records show. He allegedly arranged for the sale of 500 fentanyl pills for $2,000 on June 2 at a location in Bowie County and was involved in the sale of 500 fentanyl-containing pills for $2,200 on March 12 last year in Bowie County.
Whitson pleaded guilty to count one of a two-count indictment charging him with possession with intent to distribute fentanyl that was issued in October.
He faces up to 20 years in federal prison and a fine up to $1 million at sentencing. Sentencing will be scheduled once the court has received a report, including a recommendation for punishment under federal guidelines. Count two of the indictment is expected to be dismissed at sentencing.
Demarcus Revels, 34, pleaded guilty Wednesday to an information charging him with possession of an unregistered firearm at a hearing before Judge Baxter on Wednesday. He was initially charged in an indictment last year with possession of fentanyl with the intent to distribute and with use of a firearm in connection with a drug trafficking offense.
The original indictment is expected to be dismissed at sentencing as part of his arrangement to plead guilty to the weapons offense listed in the information.
According to records in Revels’ case, members of the Texarkana Texas Police Dept. and Drug Enforcement Administration executed a warrant authorized search in December 2021 of Revels’ home in the 800 block of Connella St. in Texarkana, Texas.
In addition to an unspecified amount of a substance containing fentanyl, the law men also seized a number of firearms and ammunition. The weapons included a 9 mm caliber semi-automatic pistol with a magazine, a .40 caliber semi-automatic pistol with two magazines, two semi-automatic rifles with three magazines each, and various ammo, court records show.
Revels had been free on an unsecured $5,000 appearance bond but was taken into federal custody at the end of his plea hearing. Whitson has been in federal custody since October of last year.
Both men are expected to be scheduled for sentencing before U.S. District Judge Robert Schroeder III in several months.