Copy-Anti K-2 activists call for longer sentences for drug dealers

(KLTV) - East Texas anti K-2 activists say a trio of plea agreements in a synthetic marijuana ring may not be enough.

On Tuesday, Jeremy Tidwell was sentenced to five years in prison.

He was arrested in 2014 during a federal raid in Longview, along with his wife and his brother.

Shanna and Brian Tidwell also reached plea agreements in connection with the bust.

Brian Tidwell was sentenced to five years in prison, and Shanna Tidwell is expected to be sentenced to two-and-a-half years later this month.

But given the damage that synthetic drugs have done, some are concerned at the precedent these plea deals may set.

As of December 2014, federal raids at several Longview shops net almost 500 pounds of synthetic marijuana, commonly referred to as K-2 or spice.

Jeremy Tidwell, Shanna Tidwell and Brian Tidwell, were arrested in operation. Out of 49 charges brought against them, each pleaded guilty to just one or two of the charges.

Jeremy pleading to distribution and possession of synthetic drugs.

"The new laws came out that made this actually an illegal substance to possess, and we will actively go after it just like any other narcotic or
drug,"  says Corporal Joshua Tubb with the Gregg County Sheriff's Office.

The Tidwell's had more than $4 million in cash and property seized in the raid.

But activists like Terrie Mogavero, who founded 'East Texans against K-2',  although pleased someone is finally going to jail over it, thinks the
sentence light in view of the damage K-2 does.

"I wish it were a longer sentence. They've basically lined their pockets at the expense of other people lives. We've seen people have seizures in
their parking lots, ambulances called out time and time again. But I'm really elated with the prison sentencing. It's been a long time coming," Terrie says.

Ten years ago corralling K-2 by police was harder, because manufacturers would change the formula, put a new label on it, and it was legal for
sale again.

But the law has changed.

"During the 84th legislature, we got a lot done on that. The substance itself was made illegal," Mogavero says.

"It's a criminal offense and we're going to pursue it just like any other criminal offense on the books," Tubb says.

Jeremy and Shanna Tidwell have requested 'staggered sentencing', in consideration of their children, so that both parents are not incarcerated at
the same time.

That request has not been answered by a judge yet.

Copyright 2017 KLTV. All rights reserved.