Meth-ring figure gets 96 years
October 15, 2007
COLORADO SPRINGS ” A Colorado Springs man at the heart of a large drug trafficking ring in Grand Junction has been sentenced to 96 years in prison.
Thomas Lynn O’Hara, 41, was sent to prison Friday by El Paso County District Judge Edward Colt.
The judge on Friday ruled O’Hara to be a habitual criminal ” with four prior felony convictions ” in handing down the longest sentence for any of the 31-plus individuals arrested in March 2006 in connection with a methamphetamine distribution ring headed in Grand Junction by Stephen Parsons.
If O’Hara’s ever released from prison, he’ll have to serve five years of mandatory parole.
Parsons, 46, was sentenced to 24 years in what Chief Judge David Bottger called “the largest drug organization I’ve ever seen in Mesa County.”
O’Hara was convicted in June by an El Paso County jury on charges of conspiracy and distribution of a controlled substance.
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O’Hara, known within Parsons’ group as “Uncle Tom,” supplied pound quantities of meth to an organization that stretched from the Front Range to Grand Junction and Phoenix.
The group was toppled after a three-month investigation by DEA’s Western Colorado Drug Task Force, which relied heavily on wiretaps and the cooperation of a confidential informant who worked as Parsons’ secretary.
El Paso County jurors heard O’Hara in a wiretap-captured conversation telling Parsons where to find a pound container packed with meth, planted in a Colorado Springs hotel room.
The informant told investigators Parsons would travel to Denver, Colorado Springs, or Phoenix every two weeks to buy four to six pounds of meth and have it imported to Grand Junction for sale.