FROM STAFF REPORTS
AUSTIN — A jury convicted 44-year-old Jimmy Don Hardin on Feb. 12 of federal firearms and drug trafficking charges stemming from a 2013 investigation in Burnet County that netted more than 15 people.
During the four-day trial in U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel’s courtroom, prosecutors presented evidence that Hardin conspired with others to distribute methamphetamine between May 2013 and December 2013 in Burnet, Llano, Williamson, Lampasas and Travis counties. The jury convicted Hardin of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute 500 grams or more of methamphetamine, possession of a firearm during a drug trafficking crime, possession of stolen firearm and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.
On Dec. 4, 2013, Burnet County authorities along with state and federal officers arrested 15 people as the result of a six-month investigation into an alleged drug-trafficking network. Authorities said at the time there were 24 suspects allegedly involved in the case.
The arrest came after law enforcement officers raided Hardin’s Bertram-area residence as well as one other home. During the initial raid and searches, investigators seized 70 firearms, $10,000 in cash and more than 8,000 rounds of ammunition. The firearms included handguns, shotguns, assorted rifles such as semi-automatic weapons and at least one silencer. Officers also found several pieces of body armor.
According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office-Western District of Texas, officers found Hardin in possession of a stolen .45-caliber pistol as well as nine other firearms at the time of his arrest.
Officials believed Hardin and his alleged co-conspirators distributed 4-5 pounds of meth each month during the previous six months before the arrests. State authorities said at the time of the arrests that most of the illegal drugs had come from Mexico.
Two of Hardin’s co-defendants, Guillermo Naranjo Reyna, 57, an undocumented immigrant living in Austin, and Nebes Montemayer, 60, of Austin pleaded guilty to drug conspiracy charges prior to trial.
All three man face between 10 years and life in federal prison.
Hardin remains in federal custody pending Judge Yeakel sentencing him April 23. Both Reyna and Montemayer are also in federal custody with sentencing scheduled March 10 in Yeakel’s court.
Several other suspects arrested after the investigation still face state drug and firearm charges.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Doug Gardner and Matt Harding prosecuted the case.