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story.lead_photo.caption Bryan Simmons


TEXARKANA, Texas —An Atlanta, Texas, lawyer who was arrested last year by Texas Rangers for allegedly smuggling methamphetamine into the Cass County jail is now facing federal drug and weapons charges.

A four-count indictment recently unsealed in the Marshall Division of the Eastern District of Texas alleges Bryan Lee Simmons, 49, is guilty of conspiracy to distribute meth from July 2019 through August 2019. Simmons was taken into custody at the Cass County jail Aug. 29, 2019.

Count two of Simmons' indictment alleges possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute Aug. 29, 2019. Counts three and four of the indictment allege possession and use of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking offense.

Count three identifies a date ranage of "beginning in or before" July 2019 through August 2019 while count four specifically refers to the Aug. 29, 2019, arrest of Simmons at the jail. According to earlier reports, a .45 caliber pistol was found in Simmons truck in the jail parking lot after his arrest.

Following his arrest in August 2019, Cass County District Attorney Courtney Shelton said Texas Rangers had been investigating and surveilling Simmons for at least a month. At that time, Simmons was arrested on state drug and weapons charges.

Simmons entered a plea of not guilty to all charges with the help of Assistant Federal Public Defender Kenneth Hawk who waived Simmons' appearance at a formal hearing before U.S. Magistrate Judge Roy Payne. Assistant U.S. Attorney Jonathan Hornok asked the court to detain Simmons pending trial. Hawk waived the issue and Payne ordered Simmons be held in federal custody. Records show he is currently being held in the Harrison County jail.

A date for trial has not been scheduled. If found guilty of conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine as alleged in count one and possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine as alleged in count two, Simmons faces up to 20 years in prison and a fine up to $1 million on each count.

Counts three and four, which address the alleged weapons violations, are both punishable by five years to life in prison and a fine up to $250,000 on each count. Any sentence ordered for the weapons charges must be served consecutively to any sentence imposed for the underlying crime.

Simmons' arrest last year is not his first.

In 2009, Texas Department of Public Safety troopers arrested Simmons for allegedly driving while intoxicated in Bowie County.

He was on his way to the Bowie County Courthouse in New Boston, Texas, where he was expected to give opening arguments for the defense in a murder trial.

Simmons was involved in a single-car accident June 16, 2009, on state Highway 8. Simmons was suspected of being intoxicated and booked into the Bowie County jail in Texarkana, Texas, according to records. He was released the same day on a personal recognizance bond.

A mistrial was declared in the murder case and Simmons was later ordered by retired 102nd District Judge John Miller to reimburse the county $318 for the cost of the 53-member jury panel.

Records show the DWI charge was filed in Bowie County Court at Law as driving while intoxicated, first offense, but later dismissed in 2011.

The State Bar of Texas website currently shows Simmons is eligible to practice law.

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