Bertram man gets 30 years in connection to major meth operation

FROM STAFF REPORTS

JIMMY DON HARDIN

JIMMY DON HARDIN

AUSTIN — The Bertram man who local and state law enforcement authorities believed was behind an operation that put between 4-5 pounds of methamphetamine on Highland Lakes streets will spend the next three decades in prison.

On May 26, U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel sentenced Jimmy Don Hardin, 44, to 30 years in federal prison on firearms and drug-trafficking charges, according to acting U.S. Attorney Richard L. Durbin Jr. and Texas Department of Public Safety Director Steve McGraw.

In February, a federal 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 a stolen firearm and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

Evidence presented during the trial revealed that from May 2013 to December of that same year, Hardin conspired with others to distribute methamphetamine across Burnet, Llano, Lampasas, Travis and Williamson counties.

READ MORE ABOUT THE 2013 DRUG INVESTIGATION

On Dec. 4, 2013, local, state and federal law enforcement officers executed search warrants at two Bertram-area residences, including Hardin’s. During the raids, officers 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. They also recovered several pieces of body armor during the investigation.

Authorities said the raids were the culmination of a six-month investigation. Officials at the time of the arrests and raids said they believed the suspects were bringing the methamphetamine from Mexico to Bertram, from where Hardin and others distributed it.

When he was arrested, Hardin was in possession of a stolen .45-caliber pistol as well as nine other firearms, according to federal prosecutors. Hardin’s criminal history outlined several previous convictions for manufacture of methamphetamine.

More than a dozen people were arrested during the initial raids and in follow-up investigations.

Two of Hardin’s co-defendants — Guillermo Naranjo Reyna, 57, an illegal immigrant residing in Austin, and Nebes Montemayor, 60, of Austin — pleaded guilty to drug conspiracy charges prior to the trial. Previously, Yeakel sentenced Reyna to five years in prison followed by three years of supervised release.

Montemayor is scheduled to be sentenced Aug. 7.

In the May 26 proceedings, Yeakel sentenced Hardin to 25 years in prison on conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute more than 500 grams of methamphetamine. The judge also sentenced him to two 10-year sentences on charges of possession of a stolen firearm and possession of a firearm by a felon. Those sentences are to run concurrently with the 25-year term.

The judged added a five-year prison sentence to run consecutively with the 25-year term for the possession of a firearm during a drug-trafficking crime.

Ten local, state and federal agencies worked together during the investigation with assistant U.S. Attorneys Doug Gardner and Matt Harding prosecuting the case.

editor@thepicayune.com

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