Man connected to fatal Tucson train shooting pleads guilty to multiple charges

Mar 17, 2023, 8:00 PM
A Tucson Police Department SWAT truck is parked near the last two cars of an Amtrak train in downto...
A Tucson Police Department SWAT truck is parked near the last two cars of an Amtrak train in downtown Tucson, Ariz., Monday, Oct. 4, 2021. The Pima County Medical Examiner's Office, in Tucson said Thursday, Oct. 7, 2021 that 26-year-old Darrion Taylor was identified as the gunman who shot and killed Drug Enforcement Administration Special Agent Michael Garbo and wounded two other DEA agents and a Tucson police officer before being shot killed by other officers.(Mamta Popat/Arizona Daily Star via AP)
(Mamta Popat/Arizona Daily Star via AP)

PHOENIX — A co-conspirator of the man who killed a federal agent on an Amtrak train in Tucson in 2021 pleaded guilty on Wednesday to multiple drug and weapons charges, federal prosecutors said.

Devonte Okeith Mathis, 24, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute marijuana, using and carrying a firearm during and in relation to a drug trafficking crime and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime, the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Arizona said in a press release Thursday.

A conviction on the drug trafficking charge carries up to five years behind bars, a fine up to $250,000, or both, while a conviction for the weapons-related charges has a mandatory minimum sentence of five years in prison to run consecutively with other counts, a fine of up to $250,000, or both.

Sentencing for Mathis, of Mesquite, Texas, is scheduled for May 24.

Drug Enforcement Administration agents and police officers were inspecting baggage belonging to Mathis and Darrion Taylor for contraband on tips from Amtrak at the train station in downtown Tucson on Oct. 4, 2021.

After finding two bulk packages of marijuana, DEA agents reentered a train car to talk to Taylor.

Taylor proceeded to open fire, killing DEA group supervisor Michael Garbo and injuring a second DEA agent and a DEA task force officer.

Taylor was found dead after barricading himself in a bathroom and exchanging gunfire with several responding officers.

Mathis, in pleading guilty to the charges, admitted to knowing Taylor had two handguns and he could use the weapons for the drug trafficking conspiracy, authorities said.

“Yesterday [Wednesday] was an important step in securing justice on behalf of a federal law enforcement agent,” United States Attorney Gary Restaino said in the release.

“We await the sentencing in this matter. In the meantime, we celebrate Michael Garbo’s life of service, we mourn with his family and his colleagues at the Drug Enforcement Administration and we remember his end of watch on October 4, 2021.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Man connected to fatal Tucson train shooting pleads guilty to multiple charges