Drug trafficking defendant facing life in federal prison

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A man who turned down an offer for an eight-year sentence earlier this year is facing possible life in prison if a jury finds him guilty at his trial later this month.

James L. Morgan, 44, was in court Monday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Caroline Craven for arraignment on a superseding indictment charging him with drug and weapons offenses in the Texarkana Division of the Eastern District of Texas. Texarkana attorney Jeff Harrelson entered pleas of not guilty on Morgan’s behalf to conspiracy with intent to deliver methamphetamine, possession of methamphetamine with intent to deliver, carrying a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking offense and possession of a firearm by a felon.

At a hearing before Craven in February, Morgan was warned that he could face a minimum of 20 years in prison should he decline the government’s plea offer. Morgan said that he understood and wants his case heard by a jury.

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The government recently issued a superseding indictment which lists aliases Morgan has allegedly used and crimes for which he has previously been convicted. Those include drug crimes, armed robbery and aggravated vehicle hijacking.

Should a jury convict Morgan of all four counts, he is facing as much as life in federal prison.

Morgan’s co-defendant in the case, Antonio Lee, pleaded guilty to the conspiracy charge in August 2018 and received a 94-month sentence.

Morgan’s case is scheduled for jury selection April 23 before U.S. District Judge Robert Schroeder III. Assistant U.S. Attorney Jonathan Hornok is representing the government.

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