Meth dealers have a rough day

Posted: 21st December 2011 by Doc in Uncategorized
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Friday was a bad day to be a drug dealer in Stephens County.
Law enforcement agencies from around North Texas gathered at the Stephens County Law Enforcement Center before dawn Friday with one mission — to put as many drug dealers as possible behind bars.
Before the day ended, 40 people had been located and arrested, most on charges of distributing methamphetamine and engaging in an organized criminal activity.

Members of the Stephens County Sheriff’s Office and the U.S. Marshal’s Service arrest Jose Lara, left, and Jessie Lopez during a warrant roundup Friday in Stephens County. Forty people were arrested on indictments for selling methamphetamine.
Stephens County Sheriff Dan Young said an investigation into drug dealers began in February 2010 after a methamphetamine lab was found at Hubbard Lake. The sheriff’s office and the Breckenridge Police Department called in the West Central Texas Interlocal Crime Task Force, and the three agencies worked hand in hand to locate drug dealers, gather proof that they were dealing and put together cases that could be forwarded to District Attorney Brenda Gray.
On Dec. 5, Gray presented the cases to the Stephens County Grand Jury, which returned 108 indictments on 50 people related to selling drugs. The indictments included 61 charges of distributing methamphetamine and 41 charges of engaging in an organized criminal activity.
After the indictments were handed down, Young and Breckenridge Police Chief Larry Mahan began to gather forces, calling other agencies for assistance. On Friday, more than 50 law enforcement officials hit the streets at 5:45 a.m. to surprise the alleged drug dealers while they were still sleeping.
The strategy worked to perfection as 40 of the 50 were located and arrested in the one-day operation.
“It’s good,” Young said. “It’s been needed for a long, long time. We’ve been working on this for a long time. We had a lot of concerned citizens give us a lot of information. This has been awesome. This has been a lot of hours put in by the officers. We’ve been up late every night.”
Young and Mahan each said the information provided by the citizens of Breckenridge was a very important piece of the investigation.
Mahan said while it may have looked bad to have dozens of police combing the streets Friday, the vast majority of people living in Breckenridge do things the right way. As he looked through the list of those indicted, Mahan said his department knows each of them well.
“We deal with the same one percent,” he said. “We have 5,000 people, and we deal with the same 60 every day. The other 99 percent we never see unless something bad happens to them.”
When the officers began serving the warrants Friday, the Breckenridge police and Stephens County deputies were joined by U.S. Marshals, DPS troopers from Stephens and Eastland counties, deputies from several counties, the game warden and more. The Young County Sheriff’s Office participated by transporting those who were arrested, and Gray was available on the scene to answer questions and give advice.
The one agency missing was the task force, which is being disbanded due to a lack of funding. Young and Mahan said that will make it a lot harder to do similar investigations in the future.
“It couldn’t have been done without them,” Young said. “They had the employees and the money to conduct the operation. The cooperation between us, the police and the task force was phenomenal.”
Mahan said he remembers a time when drug investigations meant calling a couple of law enforcement friends from Graham. The Graham officers would come to Breckenridge and try to buy, and the Breckenridge officers would do the same in Young County. The task force made the job much easier.
“It will be a lot harder without them,” Mahan said. “This is street-level narcotics, and the DPS doesn’t have the time to deal with street-level narcotics.”
Billy Schat, the commander of the task force, said he was happy to hear about the successful warrant roundup.
“I was really proud for the agents that did the dirty work, the undercover work,” Schat said. “It was nice to see their work would not go unfounded.”
Schat said three different undercover officers were involved in the case. During the investigation, those three officers purchased drugs 70 times.
“We feel like we’ve done our job for the community,” Schat said. “The local sheriff’s department, the police department and the district attorney are constantly getting complaints from people. It’s hard for them to go in because everyone knows them.”
Despite the success in this case and many others, the task force is about to disband. The officers have all been released to find new jobs and only Schat and two others remain to tie up some loose ends. Schat, who has worked for the task force for 24 years, said one of the big questions is what to do with the evidence collected during the investigations. He said with 70 undercover buys, there is a lot of evidence to account for while waiting for trials.
“We have drug evidence, we have video tapes in some cases and audio tapes in all cases,” he said.
Mahan said the task force was able to trace the drugs to the DFW Metroplex, and other agencies are still searching to find the top of the chain.
In Breckenridge, most of those targeted Friday are small-time dealers who sell to fund their own habits, Mahan said.
“No one is getting rich off this,” he said. “Most of them are dealing a little so they can use.”
Young said those targeted Friday were not a surprise to the sheriff’s office.
“Several of the people back there have been arrested for thefts and other things,” he said. “We’re seeing the same people over and over.”
While drug use will probably not stop in Stephens County, Young said the cooperative effort will send a strong message.
“You can’t tell me this doesn’t make some kind of impact,” he said.
While serving the warrants, officers found drugs in at least one home and added new charges in addition to the indictments. Another suspect will have additional charges added after officers found guns inside his home while he was out of prison on felony probation.
“I’m very pleased with the operation,” Young said. “It’s gone really smoothly. We appreciate everybody’s help.”
The help from outside agencies made the roundup possible, Young said.
“Their help is amazing,” he said. “It’s overwhelming. In a small department, it’s almost impossible for us to do a roundup like this. The assistance of the U.S. Marshal’s Service has been great.”
After watching the officers work together Friday, Gray said she hopes it sends a message drug dealers.
“We will use every available resource and every legal tool we have to stop drug use in Stephens and Young counties,” Gray said. “Drug use continues to be the major source of crime, and we will not stop until all the dealers have been locked up.”
While several of the dealers have yet to be found, Young said the effort will continue until all 50 are behind bars.
“We’ll get them all,” he said. “There is no doubt in our mind we’ll get them.”

40 jailed on drug charges
The Stephens County Grand Jury indicted 50 people of 108 charges relating to distributing methamphetamine on Dec. 5. Last Friday, the Breckenridge police, Stephens County Sheriff’s Office and others arrested 40 of the suspects during a warrant roundup. Those arrested include:
* James Allen Bates
* Cynthia Dianne Bishop
* Cody Allen Couch
* Robin Rene Deubler
* Rocky Lee Deubler
* Clint Wayne Dossey
* John Bryan Evanoff
* Coby Dale Foust
* Robert Dale Foust
* Stetson Anthony Garner
* Jason Jared Garvin
* James Edward Hart
* Patrick Sherman Hight
* Paula Hail Hight
* Marissa Katheryn Johnson
* Jose Luis Lara
* Tee Jay Latham
* Steven Kelley Lawson
* Jeffery Wayne Lindley
* Sandra Kay Long
* Cynthia Lou Longoria
* Jessie Lee Lopez
* Brandon Mchael Lynch
* Ana Lucia Martinez
* Harrold Ray Mathias
* Timothy Alan Mayberry
* Michelle Marie McCullough
* Lacey Jaye McFatridge
* Joshua Scott Morgan
* Gina Roxanne Morton
* Charles Dustin Patterson
* Alfonso Beltran Perez
* Erica Nicole Robertson
* James Edward Robertson
* Timothy Wayne Rosson
* Penny Elizabeth Saucedo
* Monica Leonora Smith
* Buddy Sanford Swan
* Manuel Rodriguez Trevino
* Jennifer Elaine Veach
* Sean Matthew Wagner

Manuel Trevino is arrested by Breckenridge police officers.

 

 

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