After working with a dealer to support her addiction, Arlana was sentenced to a mandatory life sentence without the possibility of parole for conspiracy to manufacture methamphetamine and possession of pseudoephedrine with intent to manufacture methamphetamine. Her sentence was commuted by President Obama in October 2016. She will be released in the fall of 2018.
Arlana Moore grew up in a very strict household in a small town in western Texas. She was a good student but began to experience panic attacks and depression as a teenager. She turned to drugs – first doctor-prescribed “weight loss” drugs that, in reality, were similar to methamphetamine. However, she still tried to pursue her education, earning a GED with the intention of going to college. Unfortunately, Arlana’s early experimentation with drugs turned into an addiction to methamphetamine that plagued her well into adulthood.
In 1990, 32-year-old Arlana was pulled over by police, who found methamphetamine in Arlana’s purse and car. She was charged with possession of less than 28 grams of methamphetamine and sentenced to probation. In 2005, Arlana was pulled over again. The police officer suspected that she had been driving under the influence of alcohol and arrested her. While at the detention facility, officers found a small container of codeine pills in Arlana’s pocket. She pled guilty to possessing a prohibited substance in a correctional facility and received five years deferred adjudication, a type of probation.
These incidents underscore Arlana’s serious substance abuse problems. Unfortunately, her struggles didn’t end there. Arlana continued to use methamphetamine heavily, purchasing the drug from a dealer a town over. At first she paid in cash, but then her dealer asked for pseudoephedrine pills – which can be used to make meth – instead. Arlana would buy the pills from pharmacies in the area and trade them for meth. Her dealer would then cook the pills into meth to sell back to addicts like Arlana. Over a two year period, Arlana bought pseudoephedrine pills 37 times, an amount that could be turned into about 45 grams of meth.
Unbeknownst to Arlana, her dealer and others were under investigation, and in 2009 Arlana was indicted in federal court for her involvement in the methamphetamine conspiracy. Two dozen others – some meth cooks and some users like Arlana – were also charged as members of the conspiracy. Arlana’s dealer – the primary meth cook – received a sentence of 78 months in prison. The others received sentences between 15 months and 20 years. Arlana went to trial and was convicted. She was held accountable for her pseudoephedrine purchases and those of her dealer (and codefendant), an amount that could produce over 50 grams of meth, enough to trigger a mandatory sentence. And because of her two prior drug convictions, Arlana received a mandatory life sentence without the possibility of parole.
Arlana had never served time in prison before her life sentence – she had received probation for her prior offenses. But the priors were enough in the eyes of the prosecutors to warrant an enhancement that would guarantee Arlana would spend the rest of her life behind bars. Without the mandatory sentence, Arlana would have faced between 11-13 years in prison under the guidelines – not a short sentence by any measure, but a far cry from life without parole.
Taxpayers will spend over $750,000 keeping Arlana – an addict clearly in need of substance abuse treatment – behind bars. A guideline sentence between 11 and 13 years would have saved taxpayers $400,000.
Since her incarceration, Arlana has worked hard to rehabilitate herself. She is grateful to be clear-minded after 30 years of substance abuse and has realized how destructive meth was in her life. She has taken classes to further her education, including a tutoring class that will prepare her to help other prisoners working towards their GED. Arlana is making the most of her incarceration, but deeply misses her family. She says she never knew how much she was loved until now.
The Facts: Arlana Moore
Sentence: Life (commuted down to 18 years)
Offense: Conspiracy to manufacture 50 grams of methamphetamine and possession of pseudoephedrine with intent to manufacture methamphetamine
Priors: Possession of less than 28 grams of methamphetamine (probation); possessing a prohibited substance in a correctional facility (probation); unlawfully carrying a weapon (probation and fine)
Year sentenced: 2010
Age at sentencing: 52
Projected release date: FALL 2018