A man who attempted to smuggle drugs on an Amtrak train in Arizona has been sentenced to 10 years in prison. Devonte Okeith Mathis, 24, was caught in a shootout that resulted in the deaths of his accomplice and a DEA agent.
Mathis pleaded guilty to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute marijuana and two charges related to using and possessing a firearm in relation to drug trafficking.
In October 2021, a regional task force conducted a routine check for contraband on a train that had stopped in downtown Tucson. Officers were in the process of detaining Mathis on the upper level of the double-decker car when 26-year-old Darrion Taylor pulled out a handgun and began firing.
DEA Special Agent Michael Garbo was shot and killed, while a second agent and a police officer were wounded. Taylor barricaded himself in a bathroom on the lower level and was later found dead inside. At the time, Taylor was facing charges in California and was free on bond.
Mathis admitted in his plea agreement that he knew Taylor had two handguns and would likely use them. He has been sentenced to 10 years in prison and will serve five years of supervised release upon completion of his sentence.
The incident highlights the dangers of drug trafficking and the risks involved in attempting to smuggle drugs across state lines. The shootout resulted in the loss of a DEA agent’s life and the injury of several others. The sentencing of Mathis sends a strong message that drug trafficking will not be tolerated and that those who engage in such activities will be held accountable for their actions.