Smith Co drug dealer receives life sentence

(KYTX) - What began as a routine traffic stop has ended with a Smith County jury handing down a life sentence to a Tyler man who was convicted on drug charges.

25 -year-old Martin Garza, Jr.   Garza was charged with Possession with Intent to Deliver Cocaine enhanced by a prior conviction for Burglary of a Habitation. 

Evidence began on Tuesday October 15th which showed that Garza's arrest was the result of a traffic stop initiated by Tyler Police Department K9 Officer Steve Black on February 28th, 2013.  The stop developed into a drug investigation after Garza admitted to officers that he had cocaine in the car. 

The Tyler Police Officers ultimately arrested Garza for Possession with Intent to Deliver after they located numerous items of evidence suggesting that Garza was involved in the illegal sale of cocaine. 

The case was turned over to the Jury late Tuesday afternoon where they deliberated for about 40 minutes before returning a verdict of guilty. 

Punishment evidence began on Wednesday October 16th where the jury heard from Sgt Brian Bulman, the supervisor of the Tyler Police Department's Narcotics Unit and Detective Chris Miller, the Department's Gang Intelligence Officer.  The Jury deliberated for about an hour before returning a verdict sentencing the defendant to life in prison.  241st District Judge Jack Skeen, Jr formally pronounced the sentence early Wednesday afternoon.


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