Appeals court rules on Jake’s Fireworks owner; case linked to 2020 federal raid in Nederland

Published 12:22 am Friday, August 18, 2023

A Texas appeals court handed down a ruling in the case involving federal drug charges against a Nederland business owner.

The Fifth Circuit Court of appeals affirmed the district court ruling that Jake Daughtry was guilty of drug distribution and money laundering charges, according to court records.

Daughtry, who is serving 15 years in federal prison, originally pleaded guilty to the charges in January 2022 but attempted to withdraw his plea right before trial.

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The appeal centered on Daughtry’s attempt to revoke his plea, but the appeals court ruled court records prove Daughtry was aware of the charges he was pleading guilty to and the potential consequences of the guilty plea.

Daughtry’s lawyer also argued the district court erred when it did not allow Daughtry to obtain a copy of the grand jury proceedings.

Daughtry’s team sought to determine if fabricated evidence was used against him to obtain his indictment. However, the appeals court ruled Daughtry waived that right when he agreed to plea guilty.

The case began 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 storefront for Right Price Chemicals, which primarily operated online.

In all, nearly a dozen Texas residents were indicted in connection to an operation the government said was nationwide and responsible for the death of two people on the east coast from overdoses.

The U.S. District Attorney’s Office withdrew charges against many of the defendants, and all but two of the remaining pleaded guilty with no prison time.

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.

A Beaumont federal judge sentenced Daughtry to 15 years in prison in November 2022. His cousin, Kip Daughtry, received a 46-month (three years and 10 months) sentence for his role in the operation.

There is also an ongoing civil case by the Daughtry family and their respective businesses against former U.S. Assistant District Attorney Michelle Englade and other members of the District Attorney’s Office and Drug Enforcement Agency for the use of fabricated evidence in a civil case by the government against the Daughtrys.