CHRIS MOORE — Jake Daughtry drug case requires nuance as it closes
Published 12:05 am Wednesday, November 16, 2022
A federal judge sentenced Jake Daughtry to 15 years in prison on drug trafficking and money laundering charges Tuesday.
This has been one of the more drawn-out cases I have covered in my young career. As Daughtry put it in his statement before sentencing, it had been 849 days since this all started. His business and home were raided in July 2020 during a federal investigation that led to the indictment of nearly a dozen people. Though a few had their cases dismissed along the way, the remaining defendants ultimately pleaded guilty to a number of charges stemming from the investigation.
This case was far from open and shut. Daughtry was charged with ultimately knowingly distributing 1,4 butanediol (BDO) for human consumption. The chemical is commonly sold as an industrial cleaner, but can also be used as a recreational drug when ingested.
It has also been used as a date rape drug.
During the sentencing trial, family members painted Daughtry as a kind, loving family man, who is well respected by the community. The number of people who showed up to defend him seem to support that theory.
The U.S. government painted a much different picture. They showed a man, who was, at best, negligent with the selling of a chemical that made more than half of his chemical company’s sales.
While the BDO is used as an industrial cleaner, Daughtry’s company overwhelmingly (nearly 90 percent of the time) sent the chemical to residential addresses.
The government also said there were numerous interactions he had with employees about knowing that customers were consuming the chemical and alleged Daughtry and his co-defendants were indifferent, if not callous.
However, there are also recordings of Daughtry and his father trying to get clarification of any requirements from the DEA about the legality of selling BDO well before he was indicted, but the two never received clarification.
An attorney also once compared Daughtry’s case to Tide selling Tide pods and being held responsible for people eating them.
As part of journalistic investigation, I went to Amazon.com and proceeded to purchase a bottle of the chemical in the same amounts that Right Price Chemical was selling and was able to do so without Amazon asking me for any clarification as to why I was buying it. Should Amazon also be held legally responsible in the same way?
Even if they were, it is unlikely that Jeff Bezos is doing 15 years in prison for it. The company would likely pay a fine and move on.
Logically, that is what I thought would happen here. It doesn’t change the fact that Daughtry is responsible for owning the company and seemed to know how the company was making the money it did.
It is also in the court documents that the assistant U.S. attorney that was initially on the case retired in the middle of the case after it was discovered her team presented fabricated or altered emails to a judge in a civil case regarding Right Price Chemicals.
It doesn’t seem there were a lot of good guys in this case, and this one isn’t as black and white as we would like.
Chris Moore is the sports editor for Port Arthur Newsmedia. He can be reached at email@example.com.