2 plead guilty in Jasper pharmacy burglary

BEAUMONT, TX (News Release) - BEAUMONT, Texas (Press release) – Two Houston men have pleaded guilty to federal drug violations in the Eastern District of Texas announced U.S. Attorney John M. Bales today.

Nathan Butler, 30, and Randy Norman, 31, both of Houston pleaded guilty to conspiring to commit burglary involving controlled substances today before U.S. District Judge Ron Clark.

According to information presented in court, on Jan. 22, 2008, law enforcement officers responded to an alarm at the Gee-Shipman Pharmacy in Jasper, Texas and found that the pharmacy had been burglarized for large quantities of hydrocodone.  Shortly thereafter, law enforcement authorities located Norman, Butler, and Terrance Merchant, 29, of Houston, in Kirbyville and arrested them for burglary of a building.  Further investigation revealed there was a link between these three men, Jason Belton, 27, and Riley Price, 21, also of Houston, and an unsolved burglary on June 7, 2007, of the Storm Pharmacy in Beaumont.

Merchant pleaded guilty to the conspiracy and was sentenced to 16 months in federal prison on Oct. 28, 2009, by Judge Clark.  Merchant was also ordered to pay restitution to the pharmacies for damages related to the burglaries.

Belton pleaded guilty on July 22, 2010 and Price pleaded guilty on Aug. 3, 2010.  They face up to five years in federal prison and are awaiting sentencing dates.

Butler and Norman face up to five years in federal prison and restitution in the amount of $30,700.00, the retail value of the stolen controlled substances.  Sentencing dates have not been set.

This case is being investigated by the FBI, Beaumont Police Department, Jasper Police Department, and the Kirbyville Police Department.  The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys John Craft, Christopher T. Tortorice, Robert L. Hobbs, and John B. Ross.