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96 Charged and Dozens Arrested as the Result of a Joint Investigation

MIDLAND, TX - Joseph M. Arabit Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) El Paso Division, United States Attorney John E. Murphy of the Western District of Texas, Midland County District Attorney Teresa Clingman, Midland Police Chief Price Robinson, Midland County Sheriff Gary Painter, and Ector County Sheriff Mark Donaldson announced that agents with DEA’s Mobile Enforcement Team ( MET) and Midland Resident Office, assisted by federal, state and local law enforcement officers, executed a number of arrest warrants this morning in Midland/Odessa, Texas. The majority of those arrested are among 79 defendants charged in 46 indictments that were returned by a federal grand jury in the Western District of Texas on January 26, 2011.

In total, 96 defendants face drug trafficking and/or federal gun charges as a result of this joint investigation. Today’s enforcement actions alone resulted in the arrests of 62 of the defendants, including: 45 defendants who were indicted on January 26 but had not yet been detained; 16 defendants who had been in state custody before being served with federal warrants today; and one defendant who was arrested and charged today with federal firearms violations. Another 16 of the total 96 defendants were previously arrested by state and federal authorities during the course of this investigation. Efforts to locate and arrest the remaining defendants in this case are ongoing. While the charges vary among defendants in these cases, the illicit substances targeted during the investigation include powder cocaine, crack cocaine, heroin, MDMA (Ecstasy) and marijuana. Some defendants also face increased penalties for conducting drug transactions near schools or playgrounds. Aside from the 78 defendants arrested thus far in this investigation, an additional 5 subjects were swept up today on unrelated outstanding warrants.

“These arrests are part of DEA’s ongoing efforts to target illicit drug distribution in West Texas communities where illicit drug abuse and associated criminal activity are having particularly negative effects,” said DEA Special Agent in Charge Arabit. “With common goals of reducing crime and improving the quality of life in our communities, DEA and our federal, state, and local law enforcement partners will continue to work together closely to make the best use of our combined resources and expertise.”

“The Midland Police Department is proud to be a part of 137 officers from eight different agencies coming together to take a large number of criminals off the streets of Midland,” said Midland Police Chief Robinson. “It is a daily goal of ours to make Midland a safer community for its residents. This partnership will have a significant impact on not only taking criminals off the streets, but also taking drug sources and suppliers out of our community.

The cases arising out of the MET operation in Midland/Odessa were investigated by the DEA in partnership with the Midland Police Department, the Midland County Sheriff’s Office, the Ector County Sheriff’s Office, Texas Department of Public Safety and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The federal cases are being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys John Klassen and Brandi Young. Other agencies assisting in the takedown include the United States Marshals Service, Homeland Security Investigations and Midland County Fire Marshal.

An indictment is only an accusation. All criminal defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

The DEA El Paso Division encourages parents, and their children to visit the following interactive websites at www.GetSmartAboutDrugs.com, www.JustThinkTwice.comand www.dea.gov.


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