An Amarillo man who was sentenced to life in federal prison on Thursday was also one of the defendants implicated in the infamous Tulia, Texas drug bust in 1999. He was one of the last to be fully exonerated.

According to a press release sent out by the Northern District of Texas U.S. Attorney's office, Mandis Charles Barrow was sentenced to life in federal prison on January 18 by U.S. District Judge Matthew J. Kacsmaryk.

Randall County Jail
Randall County Jail

Judge Kacsmaryk cited Barrow's violent past and life-long involvement in the drug trade as factors in his decision.

The heavy-handed sentence is the final chapter in the 45-year-old's legal woes. In September 2023, following a five-day trial, Barrow had been found guilty of three counts of distribution of 500 grams or more of methamphetamine.

The charges stemmed from a a traffic stop conducted in February 2021 near Rhome, Texas. Barrow and his passenger were arrested after a search of their vehicle yielded "$15,000 and a baggie of methamphetamine inside the glove box and a shoebox in the trunk that contained approximately 8.8 pounds of methamphetamine."

But Barrow's tangles with law enforcement began long before the arrest in Rhome.

Tulia, Texas and the 1999 Drug Bust

The infamous drug raid of Tulia, Texas that took place in 1999 is marked by racial overtones and perjury. The notorious tale of a problematic undercover agent who wreaked havoc on the tiny town in Swisher County has become a case study in many a college textbook.


But what may not be included in those case studies is that Mandis Charles Barrow was one of 47 individuals who were implicated and imprisoned in the Tulia arrests. Furthermore, Barrow was one of the very last of those 47 Tulia defendants to be totally exonerated.

Technicalities and Delayed Justice

At the time of the 1999 raids that resulted in the arrest of a reported 15% of Tulia's adult black population, Mandis Barrow was already serving a 10-year deferred adjudication probation term for aggravated robbery--something the federal press release references.

His arrest in July 1999 was considered a violation of his probation and he then served 10 years in TDCJ before he was released on parole. During his incarceration, all of Barrow's co-defendants in Tulia had been exonerated. It was not until October 2009 and June 2010 that the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals overturned Barrow's aggravated robbery conviction due to the use of Tom Coleman's perjured testimony.

Finally, in February 2011, District Judge Don Emerson reversed the probation revocation that had sent Barrow to prison for 10 years.

There's Much More to the Tale

The exoneration was long-awaited, but bittersweet. At the time of the reversal, Barrow was in federal custody in Midland and facing cocaine trafficking charges. Originally given 20 years, he would serve time for his federal charges before having his sentence shortened considerably and released.

Barrow was a free man for at least 5 years before his arrest in Rhome.

But there's still more twists and turns to Mandis Charles Barrow's tale.

See, Mandis Barrow has a twin brother by the name of Landis. And Landis Charles Barrow also served 10 years in prison due to the same probation violation. He was also one of the final Tulia defendants to be exonerated.

(TDCJ) #2 is Landis Barrow, #8 is William Cash Love, #10 is Mandis Barrow
(TDCJ) #2 is Landis Barrow, #8 is William Cash Love, #10 is Mandis Barrow

While he was not in federal custody with his brother at the time his revocation was reversed in 2011, he is now.

Landis Barrow was arrested in February 2023 as part of a large-scale federal drug bust and he remains in Randall County Jail pending further legal proceedings.

Additionally, another Tulia co-defendant, William Cash Love, was arrested in May 2022 after he crashed into the front doors of BSA hospital. Large quantities of cash and drugs were found in a backpack located in the vehicle Love was driving at the time of his arrest, prompting federal distribution charges to be filed against him.

The Biggest Drug Busts in the Texas Panhandle for 2022

Amarillo can be a rowdy place with some lawless characters. Here's some of the biggest drug busts made in the Texas Panhandle for 2022, so far.

Let's just say that these folks are in t-r-o-u-b-l-e.

Note from editor: An indictment is not a conviction. All individuals shown below who have not appeared in court for a judgement are to be presumed innocent until proven guilty.

Gallery Credit: Sarah Clark

Executed Death Row Inmates from the Texas Panhandle

The following individuals were convicted of Capital Murder for crimes committed in the Texas Panhandle (Amarillo and its surrounding areas) and sentenced to death by lethal injection. Read a brief summary on the area's executed Death Row inmates.

All information and photos have been taken from TDCJ and court records.

Gallery Credit: Sarah Clark