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OKLAHOMA CITY – Earlier this week, COLBY SCOTT SHEPHERD, 37, of Elk City, and a member of the Universal Aryan Brotherhood (UAB) currently incarcerated in an Oklahoma prison on a state conviction, was sentenced to serve 300 months in federal prison for his involvement in a methamphetamine distribution conspiracy, announced U.S. Attorney Timothy J. Downing.

On February 19, 2019, a federal grand jury returned a three-count Indictment charging Shepherd with a drug conspiracy and possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine.  On September 13, 2019, Shepherd pled guilty to Count 2 of the Indictment alleging a conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine.

According to court documents and public records, Shepherd was a member of the UAB incarcerated in an Oklahoma prison serving time for multiple state convictions arising out of Beckham, Custer, and Oklahoma Counties.  Despite being incarcerated, Shepherd and other members of the UAB orchestrated a drug-trafficking operation, primarily focused on the distribution of methamphetamine, using contraband cell phones.  Shepherd and his associates used other non-incarcerated members and contacts of the UAB to facilitate the distribution of methamphetamine and collection of drug proceeds throughout Western Oklahoma. 

Ultimately in November 2018, Shepherd coordinated a series of narcotics transactions with an undercover officer.  During the final transaction, Shepherd coordinated a delivery in Oklahoma City for pounds of methamphetamine but law enforcement intercepted his associate Michael Lee Chism with the narcotics and a firearm at the delivery location.  

On November 30, 2020, U.S. District Judge Stephen P. Friot sentenced Shepherd to serve 300 months (25 years) in federal prison beginning only after he completes all the remaining time of incarceration for his state cases.  He was also ordered to serve five years of supervised release after he completes his federal prison term.  At the sentencing hearing, Judge Friot commented on Shepherd’s continued propensity to engage in criminal activity and lack of deterrence despite being incarcerated as reasoning for the necessity of the lengthy sentence.   

Shepherd’s codefendant in this case, Michael Lee Chism, previously pled guilty to possession of methamphetamine with the intent to distribute, along with possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug-trafficking crime.  On May 29, 2020 he was sentenced to serve 60 months (5 years) in federal prison.

“I hope Universal Aryan Brotherhood members take note of this federal sentence as they continue their dangerous gang activities from state prison and conspire to distribute drugs in our state,” said U.S. Attorney Downing.  “This case is another reminder that contraband cell phones in our prisons remain a major public safety issue and our office will continue to vigorously pursue criminals who continue to distribute drugs in our state even after they are incarcerated.”

“This lengthy prison sentence of a drug dealing gang member should send a clear message to both criminals and law abiding citizens that Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) will never relent in our efforts to hold criminals accountable while protecting the general public,” said Ryan L. Spradlin, special agent in charge HSI Dallas.  “This felon’s attempt to sustain his illegal drug dealing business while incarcerated highlights the distance he went for personal gain.  This result serves as a stark reminder that HSI’s reach has no limits.”

This case was the result of an investigation by the U.S. Homeland Security Investigations, the Oklahoma Department of Corrections—Security Threats Intelligence, and the Oklahoma District Attorney’s Drug Task Force for District 2.  Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jason Harley and Nicholas J. Patterson prosecuted the case. 

Reference is made to court filings for further information.  To download a photo of U.S. Attorney Downing, click here.

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