Fugitive turns herself in from '99 Tulia drug bust
Globe-News. Nov.3, 2001, Vol. 1, No.188
Tonya White, 32, turned
herself in Friday afternoon at Potter County Detention Center after
two years spent avoiding an arrest warrant for delivery of cocaine.
White was joined at the jail by her attorney, Jeff Blackburn, and
representatives from the American Civil Liberties Union and other
organizations involved in the effort to change national drug policy.
"I was just tired
of always having this thing hanging over me," White said before
turning herself in. "This whole time I haven't been able to come
home and see my family. I just wanted to come back and get this taken
care of and see them."
White, who said she had
been living in Shreveport, La., for the past two years, is the second
suspect charged with selling drugs to undercover agent Tom Coleman
to return to the area in the past two months. Zury Bossett, also charged
with delivering cocaine to Coleman, was arrested Aug. 23 in Odessa
for a traffic violation and was returned to Swisher County. Bossett
is free on bond awaiting trial.
Although all eight of the
Tulia defendants who previously went in front of juries were convicted
and received long sentences, Blackburn said he is confident that he
and his legal defense team will be able to clear White and Bossett.
Their acquittals, he said, will then provide momentum for freeing
the other defendants, most of whom accepted plea bargains.
"I think everybody
is going to see just how different these cases are from the previous
cases," Blackburn said. "I am extremely confident in the
outcome and what the facts will show in court."
Blackburn made arrangements
with officials in Potter and Swisher counties for White to turn herself
in Friday and be released on bond.
District Attorney Terry
McEachern, who prosecuted most of the drug cases, was out of his office
and could not be reached for comment.
"I'm just sick and
tired of all this," Mattie White said. "I've been through
three of these already, and, God willing, this is the last one I'll
ever have to go through. I've been hurt so much. I just take the pain
and keep on going with God's help."
Tonya White said she was
confident that she would be found innocent of the charge against her
and hopeful that her case would help get her three siblings and others
out of jail.
"I don't even know who Tom Coleman is," Tonya White said. "If I was to see him today, I wouldn't recognize him. There's no justice in this charge. It's time for all of this to be set straight."