Methamphetamine use is on the rise among oil field workers in the Permian Basin region of Texas, as are arrests for possession, manufacturing and selling the drug.
Drilling for oil is an expensive process. In order to be profitable, many oil companies must maintain a 24/7 production schedule. This often results in long, grueling shifts for oil field workers. To endure the long hours and hard work, more and more oil field workers in Texas are turning to illegal stimulants such as crystal methamphetamine to help them make it through their shifts.
Media spotlights the explosion of methamphetamine and other drug abuse in the Permian Basin
In recent months, several media outlets, including the Houston Chronicle and Reuters, and have reported on the growing problem of methamphetamine and other illegal drug abuse among oil industry workers in the West Texas oil patch.
According to the Reuters story, “Meth, coke and oil: A drug boom in the Texas shale patch” drug abuse is a significant factor in workplace accidents and crimes involving oilfield workers. Law enforcement in West Texas communities describe how the boom in drilling has resulted in an unprecedented increase in amount of methamphetamine seized (95 pounds in 2016 as opposed to 4 pounds in 2010 in Midland) and the number of arrests on drug charges. The story also recounts the devastating impact methamphetamine use can have on an oil field worker and their family.
The Houston Chronicle story, “Oil and drugs: A toxic mix” talks about the growing number of oil field workers who are failing, faking or avoiding drug tests. The need for labor in the Permian Basin oil patch is such that many employers are looking the other way when it comes to employee drug testing. It also tells how law enforcement agencies are targeting oil field workers in an attempt to stop the flood of methamphetamine, cocaine and other illegal drugs flowing into Midland, Odessa and other West Texas communities.
Both stories mention how the rise in drug use among oil field workers in West Texas has resulted in a rise in arrests for methamphetamine possession and other drug charges.
Penalties for Methamphetamine possession in Texas
Oil field workers arrested on methamphetamine charges in Texas face serious penalties. State law classifies methamphetamine as a penalty group 1 controlled substance. Under current state laws, the penalties for possession of methamphetamine and other penalty group 1 substances are:
- Possession of less than one gram is a State jail felony with a punishment range of between 180 days to 2 years in a state jail and/or a fine of not to exceed $10,000
- Possession of more than 1 gram but less than 4 grams is a Third Degree felony with a punishment range of between 2 to 10 years in a state prison and/or a fine of not to exceed $10,000.
- Possession of more than 4 grams but less than 200 grams is a Second Degree felony with a punishment range of between 2 to 20 years in a state prison and/or a fine of not to exceed $10,000.
- Possession of more than 200 grams but less than 400 grams is a First Degree felony with a punishment range of between 5 to 99 years, or life, in a state prison and/or a fine of not to exceed $10,000.
- Possession of 400 grams or more but less than 400 grams is a Special Class or Enhanced First Degree felony with a punishment range of between 10 to 99 years, or life, in a state prison and/or a fine of not to exceed $100,000.
An oil field worker who has been arrested for methamphetamine possession faces serious consequences including:
- Jail time
- Termination of employment
- Drug rehabilitation programs
- Random drug testing
- Difficulty obtaining future employment
The smartest thing to do after an arrest on methamphetamine charges is to seek the help of a criminal defense attorney with extensive experience in representing clients arrested for drug possession.
Houston Drug Crimes Attorney Lisa Shapiro Strauss will to protect your rights
If you are an oil industry worker who has been charged with felony narcotic possession of crystal meth in Texas, it’s important to seek the services of a dedicated Houston drug crimes attorney with the experience to review the charges and evidence against you and protect your legal rights in court.
Lisa Shapiro Strauss has been helping clients arrested for methamphetamine and other drug related charges in Houston for over 25 years. Depending on the circumstances in your case, Lisa may be able to get the charges against you dropped or reduced.
Contact the law offices of Lisa Shapiro Strauss today to schedule a free confidential review of your case.