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Tyler ranking gang member sentenced to 45 years for possessing 'drug dealer' amounts of cocaine

The street value of the cocaine was determined as $10,000.

TYLER, Texas — A Tyler gang member was sentenced to 45 years in prison Wednesday for possessing "drug dealer" amounts of cocaine with intent to deliver.

Damonte Shears, 33, of Tyler, was found guilty of possession of cocaine with intent to deliver and sentenced to 45 years on Wednesday in the 241st District Court. 

The prosecution showed evidence that Shears ran from Texas Department of Public Safety Trooper Don Appleman on foot. Shears threw away a large of amount of crack cocaine and ecstasy while running, according to the Smith County District Attorney's Office. 

Detectives from the East Texas Anti-Gang unit testified that the amount of cocaine matched up with amounts a drug dealer would have rather than personal use. The street value of the cocaine was determined as $10,000.

Gang expert Chris Miller with the Smith County District Attorney’s Office identified Shears as a ranking member of the Rolling 60s Neighborhood Crips using his tattoos, social media posts and Miller’s previous knowledge of Shears. 

“Shears made his living selling poison and profited from the addiction of other," Assistant District Attorney Emil Mikkelsen told the jury. 

RELATED: 15 kilograms of cocaine seized from a traffic stop in Rusk County

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