FRESNO, Calif. — A federal grand jury returned a one-count indictment Thursday against Richard Charles Thomas Jr., 38, of Merced, charging him with possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine, Acting U.S. Attorney Phillip A. Talbert announced.
According to court documents, on Aug. 25, 2020, Thomas led law enforcement officers on a highspeed chase through the city of Merced. While fleeing police, Thomas threw a black bag from the vehicle. Officers recovered the bag, which contained approximately 839 grams of methamphetamine, $3,162 in cash, and personal effects belonging to Thomas.
This case is the product of an investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Merced Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney Jessica A. Massey is prosecuting the case.
If convicted, Thomas faces a mandatory minimum statutory penalty of 10 years in prison and a $10 million fine. Any sentence, however, would be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables. The charges are only allegations; the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
This case is being prosecuted as part of the joint federal, state, and local Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) Program, the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction efforts. PSN is an evidence-based program proven to be effective at reducing violent crime. Through PSN, a broad spectrum of stakeholders work together to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in the community and develop comprehensive solutions to address them. As part of this strategy, PSN focuses enforcement efforts on the most violent offenders and partners with locally based prevention and reentry programs for lasting reductions in crime.
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