A Colleyville businessman and defense contractor who had faced prison time was instead ordered this week to attend a residential drug treatment center after pleading “true” to violating his probation on a 2010 drug possession charge.
Under his amended probation, Richard Ronald Raley, 55, is also prohibited from driving a vehicle until Nov. 21, 2020, court records show.
Raley founded American United Logistics and later Raley Holdings, distribution companies in the Middle East that worked with the military.
He recently testified in an attempted capital murder case in Denton County. His company’s chief financial officer, John “Franklin” Howard, was convicted of hiring men to try to kill his wife and was sentenced to life in prison.
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Raley testified that Howard embezzled millions from his company’s Kuwait bank accounts. Officials say Howard used some of that money to finance the attempted murder of his wife, who lost an eye in the August 2012 shooting outside her Carrollton home but survived.
In his own court dealings, Raley had been sentenced to two years’ deferred-adjudication probation in October 2000 after pleading guilty to possessing less than 28 grams of hydrocodone, records show. In 2010, he was back in a Tarrant County courtroom, pleading guilty to a charge of possession of a controlled substance.
According to an article about the hearing published on the Colleyville-based localnewsonly.com, state District Judge Wayne Salvant expressed concern during the hearing that Raley had gotten “breaks” on past problems. Salvant warned him that if he violated any terms of his 10-year deferred-adjudication probation, there would be “no more deals,” the article says.
Raley could have faced up to 10 years in prison for violating his probation.
Prosecutor wanted prison
At Monday’s hearing, Tarrant County prosecutor Amy Collum told the judge that Raley had been given enough chances at rehabilitation and should be sentenced to prison.
“I argued that sometimes prison is rehabilitative,” Collum said. “This community has seen far too many defendants who continue to abuse controlled substances while driving on our streets. This has resulted in the loss of too many innocent lives.”
Raley had asked the judge to consider continuing him on probation with drug treatment. His attorney, Virginia Carter, didn’t return messages Tuesday seeking comment.
Salvant, who once supervised the drug court, decided to amend Raley’s probation and put him in treatment at the Court Residential Treatment Center in Lubbock County. The center provides residential substance abuse and dependency services to men on community supervision.
Raley will remain in the Tarrant County Jail until bed space at the facility becomes available.
The judge did not respond to a messages seeking comment.
“Although I disagree with the court’s decision, it is my hope that Richard Raley gets the help that he needs and becomes a productive member of society,” Collum said. “These cases are always difficult. The court must balance society’s interest in rehabilitating the addict and the protection of the community at large.”
‘Rich guy’ treatment alleged
The case came to the Star-Telegram’s attention in June when the newspaper received an anonymous letter alleging that Raley was still getting breaks because of his wealth.
The writer said Raley remained on probation despite violating the terms, including being arrested Dec. 28 in Grand Prairie on suspicion of driving while intoxicated after he crashed his Porsche into an SUV carrying a couple and their four children on the George Bush Turnpike.
“I guess rich guy still gets away with it,” the tipster wrote.
Tarrant County court records confirmed that Raley was still on probation, though he had been placed that April into SWIFT (Supervision With Intensive Enforcement), a stringent program aimed at probationers who have repeatedly violated the rules and are likely candidates for revocation.
Court officials say they were unaware of Raley’s DWI arrest when he was placed into SWIFT.
Prosecutors also did not know about the arrest when the Star-Telegram inquired about the case June 30.
Other violations noted
“The state is not always notified every time there is an alleged probation violation,” explained Melody McDonald, a spokeswoman with the district attorney’s office. “Oftentimes the probation department does not present petitions to adjudicate or revoke to prosecutors until the new offense is filed. Many times, a defendant may be arrested but no charges are filed.”
“In this case, the Dallas [County] DWI blood was sent to the [Department of Public Safety] lab in Austin and the results were not available for several months,” McDonald added.
Toxicology tests found that Raley had hydrocodone and alprazolam in his system, as well as a trace amount of benzoylecgonine (a cocaine metabolite).
Raley, who has a previous DWI conviction in Travis County, was formally charged June 17 in Dallas County with DWI, records show.
Upon learning of Raley’s DWI arrest in July, state District Judge Mollee Westfall discharged Raley from SWIFT, citing “program violations,” court records show. He was arrested that day and incarcerated in the Tarrant County Jail.
Prosecutors also filed petitions in July to revoke Raley’s probation, citing his DWI arrest and other violations, including using amphetamine/methamphetamine on April 8 and cocaine on May 23 and leaving Tarrant County without permission to go to a rehab center on South Padre Island on Feb. 16.