Families of overdose victims speak at sentencing for owner of Jake’s Fireworks
Published 12:38 am Wednesday, November 16, 2022
BEAUMONT — More than two years after federal agents raided a Nederland business, a judge handed down a sentence to Jake Daughtry on drug distribution and money laundering charges.
Jake Daughtry received 15 years in federal prison Tuesday for his involvement in a drug operation that led to the overdose deaths of at least two in the country.
Judge Thad Heartfield heard statements from Daughtry’s wife as well as parents for the two victims that overdosed.
The indictments refer to the victims as MK and AH, which is how they were referred to in court to protect their identities as well as the identities of their parents, who spoke.
The parents of MK described him as a 36-year-old man, who was engaged to be married at the time of his death.
“He had his whole adult life in front of him,” the victim’s mom said.
The mother of AH said she and her daughter would go on several vacations together and were planning one to Thailand at the time of her death. The mother said she still went on the trip, using the itinerary that her daughter had made.
The judge said he had also read 26 letters from family and friends of Daughtry showing their support.
Daughtry pleaded guilty to the charges in January. Assistant U.S. District Attorney Christopher Rapp said the defendant could have received 30 years to life in prison had the case gone to trial.
After the plea agreement, the government elected to only pursue up to 20 years in prison.
The prosecution and defense showed two vastly different sides of Daughtry. The defense talked about his positive community impact and his loving family and college education. His wife spoke about Daughtry as a father and loving husband.
The government painted a much different portrait. Rapp compared Daughtry to other leads of organized crime and talked about the defendant’s lavish lifestyle fueled by greed.
The case began in 849 days ago, as Daughtry put it, in July of 2020 when federal agents raided the homes and businesses of Daughtry in search of evidence connecting him and nearly a dozen codefendants to a multi-state drug operation. Agents searched Jake’s Fireworks on Twin City Highway, which was also a store front for Right Price Chemicals, which primarily operated online.
The government sought to prove Daughtry and the codefendants knowingly sold 1,4 butanediol (BDO) for human consumption. BDO is also commonly sold as an industrial cleaner and is not listed as a narcotic.
The government opened a civil and criminal case against Daughtry. The civil case was dropped after it was revealed the government used altered emails as evidence and after Daughtry agreed to not sell BDO anymore.
Rapp said the sake of BDO made up for 68 percent of Right Price Chemicals sales and nearly 90 percent of sales went to residential addresses.
Agents determined that since 2016, Right Price Chemicals has distributed approximately 7,000 gallons of BDO over thousands of orders, and that those sales generated $4.5 million.
“This was a complicated investigation involving numerous investigative agencies and both the criminal and civil divisions of the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Their collaborative efforts have made our community and country a safer place to live.” U.S. Attorney Brit Featherston said in a statement.
READ MORE: OPINION — Jake Daughtry drug case requires nuance as it closes.