Lawyers

Lawyer faces October trial in drug case – Texarkana Gazette

MARSHALL, Texas — An Atlanta, Texas, lawyer accused of smuggling methamphetamine into the Cass County jail last year is scheduled for a jury trial in October before a federal judge in Marshall.

Bryan Lee Simmons, 49, is charged in a four-count indictment pending in the Marshall Division of the Eastern District of Texas which accuses him of drug and weapons offenses. Simmons was taken into custody at the Cass County jail Aug. 29.

He is currently being held in the Harrison County jail. A recent docket entry in Simmons’ federal case notes it has been set for jury selection Oct. 19 before U.S. District Judge Rodney Gilstrap.

A deadline of 12 p.m. Sept. 28 is noted for Simmons to let the court know if he intends to enter into a plea agreement with the government.

Count one of Simmons’ indictment alleges conspiracy with intent to distribute meth from “in or before” July 2019 to August 2019. Count two alleges possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine Aug. 29, 2019.

Count three alleges use and carrying of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking offense from “in or before” July 2019 to August 2019. Count four alleges use and carrying of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking offense Aug. 29, 2019.

Following his arrest in August, Cass County District Attorney Courtney Shelton said Texas Rangers had been investigating Simmons for at least a month and had him under surveillance. At that time, Simmons was arrested on state drug and weapons charges.

Simmons entered pleas of not guilty to all charges earlier this year and waived the issue of detention.

If found guilty of conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine as alleged in count one and possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine as alleged in count two, Simmons faces up to 20 years in prison and a fine up to $1 million on each count.

Counts three and four, which address the alleged weapons violations, are both punishable by five years to life in prison and a fine up to $250,000 on each count. Any sentence ordered for the weapons charges must be served consecutively to any sentence imposed for the underlying crime.

Simmons’ arrest last year is not his first.

In 2009, Texas Department of Public Safety troopers arrested Simmons for allegedly driving while intoxicated in Bowie County.

He was on his way to the Bowie County Courthouse in New Boston, Texas, where he was expected to give opening arguments for the defense in a murder trial.

Simmons was involved in a single-car accident June 16, 2009, on state Highway 8. Simmons was suspected of being intoxicated and booked into the Bowie County jail in Texarkana, Texas, according to records. He was released the same day on a personal recognizance bond.

A mistrial was declared in the murder case and Simmons was later ordered by retired 102nd District Judge John Miller to reimburse the county $318 for the cost of the 53-member jury panel.

Records show the DWI charge was filed in Bowie County Court at Law as driving while intoxicated, first offense, but later dismissed in 2011.

The State Bar of Texas website currently shows Simmons is eligible to practice law.

Simmons is represented by Assistant Federal Public Defender Kenneth Hawk. Assistant U.S. Attorney Jonathan Hornok is prosecuting.

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