It's one of 2011's most visible criminal cases in the Panhandle and now the people involved are facing prison sentences.
It was October 2011 when members of a prominent, business-owning family in Borger were detained for conspiracy to distribute narcotics. Nine individuals from the Amarillo area were arrested on various drug charges, U.S. Attorney Sarah R. SaldaÃ±a said.
Francisco "Frank" Fernandez, 43, Jose "Junior" Fernandez, 37, Aaron Fernandez, 26 and Thomas Joseph Salazar, 23, were charged with conspiracy to distribute narcotics. Those narcotics include cocaine and methamphetamine.
Amy Fernandez, 43, Frank's wife, was charged with structuring transactions to evade reporting requirements. She pleaded guilty to the charge last November.
On Wednesday, Amy was sentenced to 12 months in federal prison. She was also ordered to pay an agreed money judgement of $99,950.
Amy, according to court documents, admitted that she purchased cashier's checks from four separate financial institutions last February. Bank tellers said she removed the money from large, gallon-sized plastic bags she was carrying in her purse, court documents revealed.
The five-day total of the checks was listed at $59,550.
By keeping the check's totals under $3,000, federal reporting requirements were being avoided.
Frank Fernandez pleaded guilty in January to one count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute 500 grams or more of methamphetamine and five kilograms or more of cocaine. In addition, he admitted to supplying narcotics to street-level dealers in and around Amarillo.
He is scheduled to be sentenced in March. He faces a statutory sentence of not less than ten years and up to life in prison in addition to a $10 million fine.
Another Borger resident, Tomar-Bysshe L. Embers, 38, was also sentenced Wednesday for 120 months in federal prison. Embers was arrested in October and pleaded guilty in December to the charge of possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute.