Tyler man gets life in prison for drug charge


A Smith County jury, on Wednesday, deliberated for an hour before giving a Tyler man a life sentence on a charge of possession with intent to deliver cocaine.

Martin Garza Jr., 26, will have to serve at least 15 years of the sentence before he is eligible for parole on the second-degree felony charge. Garza had a previous conviction for burglary of a habitation, which is why he was eligible for the life sentence, according to information received from the Smith County District Attorney's Office.

"It's a quarter-time offense because no weapon was involved," Smith County Assistant District Attorney Kenneth Biggs said Thursday. The trial took place in the Smith County 241st District Court with Judge Jack Skeen Jr. presiding. Defense Attorney Zach Davis represented Garza.

Evidence began on Tuesday, which showed that Garza's arrest was the result of a traffic stop, which Tyler Police Department K9 Officer Steve Black initiated on February 28, according to information received from the District Attorney's office. 

The stop developed into a drug investigation after Garza admitted to officers that he had cocaine in the car.  Police 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. 







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