The Grayson County District Attorney ‘s Office said a convicted drug dealer was sentenced to 25 years in prison Tuesday.
An emailed press release distributed Tuesday said Derrick Justin Brawner, 32, of Denison was sentenced to serve three concurrent 25-year prison terms by 15th District Judge Jim Fallon. Brawner pleaded guilty in July to possession of methamphetamine and heroin with the intent to distribute after Denison Police executed search warrants at two of his residences in January and again in March. Brawner was arrested in January, but bonded out. He was arrested again following the March raid and has remained in the Grayson County Jail ever since.
“This man was selling a large amount of heroin and other penalty group 1 drugs and, even after being arrested in January, he got out and kept doing business as usual,” interim Grayson County District Attorney Brett Smith said in the release.
Brawner’s defense attorney David Wacker said he had no comment regarding the sentence, but disagreed with the image he felt prosecutors painted of his client.
“I think he’s been a victim of the opioid epidemic that extends all over, even in Grayson County,” Wacker said of Brawner, whom he described as suffering from a heroin addiction. “To characterize him as some major (drug) distributor in Grayson County would be incorrect, but I think that’s how he was tried to be portrayed.”
According to the release, Denison Police conducted an initial, three month-long investigation into Brawner’s activities before executing their first search warrant on Jan. 31.
“During the raid, more than 44 grams of heroin, 16 grams of methamphetamine, and more than 1 gram of cocaine were seized by Denison officers,” the release read. “After being arrested, the defendant made bail and was released.”
On March 8, Denison Police officers executed their second search warrant against Brawner at a different residence. The operation resulted in the seizure of an additional eight grams of heroin and a small amount of methamphetamine, as well as Brawner’s arrest.
Wacker said his client’s heroin addiction led him to commit the crimes for which he was ultimately convicted.
“He never intended to get into this to make money or profit,” Wacker said. “He himself got addicted to it, some time ago. It’s unfortunate because he tried to detox, he tried his best to get off it, but just wasn’t able to kick it.”
But Smith’s statement indicated he felt the sentence was justified and necessary for both Brawner’s safety and the public’s.
“He needed a stiff prison sentence because his actions demonstrated he wasn’t going to stop,” Smith said.
Wacker said he did not immediately know Tuesday whether his client would be eligible for parole or early release.