Nine Indicted as Part of Operation Ice River
JUL 18 -- Jackson, TN- Yesterday marked the end of a four-year investigation with the indictments of additional defendants in Operation River Ice announced David Kustoff, United States Attorney for the Western District of Tennessee, Andy Dimond, Resident Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration, Mark Gwyn, Director of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, and Roy Wyatt, Sheriff of Decatur County. Operation River Ice was an investigation into the illegal trafficking of methamphetamine into West Tennessee.
On July 16, 2007, an indictment was returned against Ezequiel Roderiquez Del Valle, 34, of Parsons, TN, Victor Aclarez Del Valle, 37, of Parsons, TN, and Sandra Gay Welch, 45, of Parsons, TN, Douglas Blankenship, 38, of Parsons, TN. Additional indictments were returned yesterday charging five other individuals, four of which are not currently in custody. These defendants were charged in federal court for their efforts to possess and distribute methamphetamine in and around the Decatur County vicinity.
In a related indictment, Jimmy Ray Pettigrew, 43, of Parsons, TN, Lynn Ray Scott, 55, of Parsons, TN, David Sparks, 36, of Parsons, TN, Sonny Rice, 57, of Parsons, TN, and Sherrie Reddix, 37, of Linden, TN, were charged on February 27, 2007 in a one count Superseding Indictment with conspiracy to possess and distribute methamphetamine. According to the indictment, the defendants would obtain methamphetamine and market it in Decatur, Perry, and Henderson Counties in West Tennessee. Each defendant would then allegedly use the proceeds for their personal benefit.
Other defendants charged in relation to these cases, were Roger Dale French, 55, of Reagan, TN, in January 2007, Linda Shamblin, 45, of Medford, OR, in February 2007, Penny McCay Griggs, 44, of Linden, TN in October 2006, Dennis Vestal, 56, of Lexington, TN and Samuel Martinez, 18, of Reagan, TN, in June 2006, and Jose Luis Rodgriquez, 32, of Parsons, TN, Raul Velasco Pina, 32, of Parsons, TN, Martin Garcia Manriquez, 25, of Parsons, TN, and Juan Manuel Rodriguez Lopez, 30, of Parsons, TN in February 2004. These defendants were also charged with various counts of possession and distribution of methamphetamine.
Charges against Manriquez and Pina were later dismissed. Vestal, Griggs, Martinez, and French have all entered guilty pleas and are awaiting sentencing. Vestal is scheduled to be sentenced on July 20, 2007; Griggs is scheduled for August 2, 2007; Martinez is scheduled for September 18, 2007; and French is scheduled on September 24, 2007.
District Attorney General Hansel McCadams has brought various state charges against other individuals associated with these cases.
These cases are being investigated by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, Drug Enforcement Administration, and the Decatur County Sheriff's Department. In the case of French, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives assisted in the investigation. Assistant United States Attorney Jerry Kitchen is prosecuting the cases for the government.
DEA Atlanta Field Division SAC Benson recommends that parents and children educate themselves about the dangers of methamphetamine and other harmful drugs by visiting DEA’s interactive website at www.justhinktwice.com