Several suspects allegedly connected in a multi-state drug trafficking ring struck plea agreements in federal court recently, but the details of those agreements remain under wraps with the sealing of court documents and hearings.
Travis Philpot of Sallisaw is the latest defendant connected to an alleged drug trafficking ring to change his not guilty plea.
Philpot is one of 11 suspects charged in federal court with various drug-related crimes alleged to be part of drug trafficking operation based in Sallisaw that reportedly utilized horse trailers to transport cocaine and cash across the country.
The charges against the suspects stemmed from an investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration.
Others facing federal charges include Samuel Valdivia, Rhonda Valdivia, Paul Philpot, Hoyet Philpot, Pamela Pearson, David Nelson, Twila Nelson, and Randy Philpot, all of Sallisaw, and Onesimo Garza Jr., of McAllen, Texas, and Jose Luis Partida of Edinburg, Texas. Samuel Validiva is accused of being the ringleader of the operation.
Travis Philpot pleaded guilty Friday to two federal counts of interstate travel in aid of racketeering. According to court records, the charges indicate that from December 2002 until May 2006 Philpot traveled "in interstate commerce" from Oklahoma to New York, Pennsylvania, Georgia, Illinois, Arizona, North Carolina and Texas in possession with intent to distribute more than five kilograms of a mixture or substance containing cocaine.
Philpot, 28, was first indicted in June on charges of conspiracy, cocaine and marijuana distribution, and related charges. The charges to which Philpot pleaded guilty were filed Friday.
He was remanded to the custody of the U.S. Marshal after the plea hearing to await a pre-sentencing investigation. The details of Philpot's plea agreement were ordered sealed by the court.
Philpot's change of plea is not the first in the federal case. Last week, Hoyet Philpot, Samuel Valdivia, and Rhonda Valdivia, all of Sallisaw, reportedly changed their pleas in the case, according to court minutes. Those plea agreements have also been sealed by the court.
In Hoyet Philpot's case, superseding felony information was filed Sept. 6, which included one count of interstate travel in aid of racketeering. According to the information, in November 2004, Hoyet Philpot traveled in interstate commerce from Oklahoma to Texas and Georgia intending to distribute more than five kilograms of a mixture or substance containing cocaine.
Plea changes for other defendants in the case, including Randy Philpot, Partida, and the Nelsons, are expected this week, according to court minutes.