Amy Brocato Pearson
Jacksonville Daily Progress
Judge Bascom Bentley III fired a shot heard 'round the county Thursday by handing down a bold sentence to a convicted area drug dealer.
Fred Horn, 48, received 75 years in prison for a conviction on possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute, a 1st-degree felony which carries a recommended sentence of between five to 99 years, or life, in prison.
The 75-year sentence is "stiff," said Cherokee County District Attorney Rachel Patton.
"We are hopeful it will send a message to people in the community seeking to fill Mr. Horn's shoes that this will not be tolerated in Cherokee County," she said.
Horn also received five years in a Texas Department of Corrections facility for a conviction on possession of marijuana, a 3rd-degree felony which carries a recommended sentence of two to 10 years.
Cherokee County Assistant District Attorney Charles Breaux prosecuted the case for the state in the 369th District Court and Horn was represented by attorney R. Daryll Bennett of Longview. Bennett was in court Friday morning and unavailable for comment.
"Charles put in a lot of time on this case, which was very important to law enforcement and to the community," Patton said. "He represented the State very well."
Horn was arrested in August 2011 after what is still one of the largest drug raids in the history of Cherokee County. At the time, Jacksonville police seized $10,000 in cash, three vehicles, a .38 revolver, and approximately $20,000 worth of drugs.
"We are very pleased with this result," said JPD Detective James Oden, the lead investigator on the case. "The DA's office did an excellent job on this case and it's really going to help the community a lot."
In August 2011, a SWAT team raided Fred's Car and Detail at 520 N. Jackson St, ultimately arresting Fred Horn, after a four-week investigation by Oden after receiving tips that Horn was distributing drugs at his place of business.
Once the six-man SWAT team arrived on the scene, they found a Crown Victoria, Mustang, and Lincoln inside the shop.
Officers found pre-packaged bags of marijuana, cocaine powder, and crack “cookies,” in the Crown Victoria and Lincoln, said Det. Sgt. Daniel Franklin.
Crack “cookies,” are made by mixing straight cocaine powder with baking powder or other powder substances and adding water to create a paste. The paste is then poured into a round bottle where it hardens and takes on a “cookie” shape.
Officers seized the Crown Victoria and Mustang, but did not seize the Lincoln since it did not run, Franklin said.
Officers also seized a Dodge Charger parked outside the shop. Franklin said the vehicle contained $10,000 in cash.
"It is a big win for Jacksonville," Jacksonville Police Chief Reece Daniel said. "...I am very happy with our new DA and her assistants."