Lufkin meth cook forced to surrender self to federal custody

David Dunman mug shot courtesy of Angelina County Jail.
David Dunman mug shot courtesy of Angelina County Jail.

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - A federal judge has ordered a Lufkin man who has pleaded guilty to a federal meth conspiracy to turn himself in to federal marshals in 10 days.

Federal prosecutors had requested that David Arthur Dunman Jr., 52, be placed immediately in federal custody, but Magistrate Judge Zach Hawthorn gave Dunman the opportunity to turn himself in on November 28, at 8:30 a.m.

Dunman has been on house arrest since July, when he was named in a 66-count indictment alleging he was part of a four-member meth conspiracy ring. He pleaded guilty in October to federal charges of conspiracy to manufacture and possession of listed chemicals.

"David's very pleased with the judge's decision," said his attorney, Al Charanza. "This gives him an opportunity to spend Thanksgiving with his family as they had planned."

Angelina County residents were bringing Dunman pseudeophedrine to cook meth.

"This is the biggest conspiracy case that we've come across as far as drug-related in Angelina County," said Tom Matthews, a narcotics officer in Angelina County.

Prosecutors filed the motion, saying federal law requires a defendant be detained when found guilty of a crime in the Controlled Substance Act which carries a maximum punishment of 10 years or more.

In the Lufkin courtroom, Charanza argued that Dunman has had a clean record all his life and he had been fully compliant with his release conditions since July.

The judge told him "because you are guilty, then the rules of the game change."

Hawthorn agreed Dunman had been compliant, noting he wished all under release conditions were as compliant.

"I'm putting myself on the line for you," Hawthorn told Dunman. "Don't let me down. Don't."

"By filing the motion, it is going to cost the citizens more money because he's going to be incarcerated in a jail pending his sentencing when he was actually paying for his electronic monitoring staying out," Charanza said. "So between the Monday after Thanksgiving and when he goes to sentencing, the taxpayers are going to have to pay for that."

"Usually they get to stay out on their conditions of release until they return to sentencing and at sentencing they go to detention," Charanza said. "So, the law allows it and the government can file that motion, but this is the first one I've had to deal with in 8 years."

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