Jeff Hagler, 50, of the Argo community pleaded guilty Thursday to trafficking OxyContin and unlawful distribution of oxycontin before Walker County Circuit Judge Jerry Selman last week. Hagler was sentenced to 40 years in prison for the trafficking charge and 20 years for the distribution charge. Selman said those sentences would run concurently.
The case was prosecuted by members of the Blount County District Attorney’s Office. Chrystal Boudreaux, chief assistant district attorney, said Hagler was on trial when he decided to plead guilty.
“He heard the case against him and then decided to ask for the plea,” she said. “We believe we achieved just results and a big drug dealer is off the streets. He really was a big problem in this area, and now he’ll probaby be in prison until he’s almost 70.”
Boudreaux said the Blount County DA prosecuted the case because the Walker County District Attorney’s Office had recused itself.
“There are many times that an office has to recuse itself, and there are many different reasons why that happens,” she said. “We were happy to come out and handle the case for the local DA.”
Walker County District Attorney Bill Adair said his office would be returning the favor in the future by prosecuting cases in Blount County.
Boudreaux said the work done by local officers should be credited for the strong case against Hagler.
“The Walker County officers did a great job,” she said. “It was a well-executed investigation, and I give them all the credit.”
Hagler was arrested on the trafficking and distribution charges in 2008. He had been convicted twice before on drug charges in 1996 and 1998. Adam Hadder, a member of the Walker County Narcotics Enforcement team at the time of the arrest and current sheriff’s office deputy, said putting Hagler behind bars is a “big win” for local law enforcement.
“He’s been a major player for years when it comes to drugs in Walker County,” Hadder said. “He’s ruined countless lives by illegally selling prescription drugs. This is a big help to the community to get him off the streets.”