FROM STAFF REPORTS
BURNET — State District Judge J. Allan Garrett sentenced a Bertram man to 25 years in prison after a Burnet County jury convicted him for his role in a methamphetamine operation.
The jury found Timothy Steven Blackard, 45, guilty Nov. 19 of engaging in organized crime.
Blackard’s conviction is related to a methamphetamine ring that operated out of the Bertram area and distributed the drug in Burnet, Williamson, Llano, Travis and Bastrop counties in 2013.
He was one of more than a dozen people arrested in December 2013 after a six-month investigation into the operation. On Dec. 4, 2013, state, local and federal law enforcement agencies executed several search and arrest warrants, which turned up 70 firearms, $10,000 in cash and 8,000 rounds of ammunition along with two ounces of meth.
But it wasn’t that amount of the drug that drew law enforcement officers attention to Blackard and the others involved in ring. Investigators believe the network was distributing and selling 4-5 pounds of meth each month for at least the six months leading up to the December 2013 arrests. Officers put the street value of the monthly amount at $200,000.
During the trial in Garrett’s courtroom, Burnet County District Attorney prosecutors showed multiple transactions between Blackard and Jimmy Don Hardin, who is now serving 30 years in federal prison after a federal jury found him guilty in February for his involvement in the drug operation.
Prosecutors showed evidence that Blackard was a runner for the operation, delivering large amounts of meth from Hardin to other parts of the network.
“Evidence revealed that (Blackard) was Hardin’s ‘right-hand man’ and that he would not only deliver methamphetamine for Hardin but would also transport money for him, be a ‘decoy’ in case Hardin got stopped by law enforcement and served as Hardin’s bodyguard,” according to a news release from the district attorney’s office.
“The investigation and prosecution of this Bertram drug network has heightened the safety of our neighborhoods, and it has greatly reduced the danger and destruction that follows methamphetamine distribution in Burnet County,” District Attorney Sonny McAfee stated.
He and Assistant District Attorney Kristen Sharpe prosecuted the case.
In October, a separate Burnet County jury convicted Charles Smith for his role in the Bertram drug network. The judge, in accordance with that jury’s recommendation, sentenced Smith to 25 years in prison.
Two other men, 57-year-old Guillermo Naranjo Reyna and 60-year-old Nebles Montemayor pleaded guilty earlier this year in federal court to drug conspiracy charges for their involvement in the drug network.
The investigation and subsequent prosecution took the effort of many local, state and federal law enforcement agencies.
McAfee pointed out that law enforcement agencies will continue to work together to protect the community.