25 CHARGED WITH METHAMPHETAMINE TRAFFICKING AND LAUNDERING METH MONEY
U.S. seek forfeiture of millions of dollars and luxury homes
OCT 9(Houston, TX) - DEA Special Agent in Charge Kevin C. Whaley and United States Attorney Michael Shelby announced today the unsealing of a 14 count indictment charging a total of twenty-five (25) Houston area and Austin, Texas residents with conspiring to posses with intent to distribute marijuana and methamphetamine beginning in mid-1998, and laundering the money generated from their illegal activity. The indictment, returned under seal by a federal grand jury in Houston on October 6, 2003, also seeks to forfeit from the defendants no less than $2 million dollars in cash and assets from three Houston area residences. The residences are allegedly property obtained with the monies generated through drug trafficking or used to further the illegal activity.
"To halt the distribution of drugs in our community requires not only prosecuting the traffickers but also seizing their profits, including property and cash," said U. S. Attorney Shelby. "Today's indictment seeks to do both."
Early this morning, arrest teams comprised of representatives of a number of federal, state and local law enforcement agencies with assistance from the Fort Bend County Sheriff's Office and the Temple, Texas Task Force, arrested 21 of the 25 defendants in the Houston area with one arrest taking place in Austin, Texas. Some of the defendants made an initial appearance in federal court today. Those not having made their appearance today will appear before U. S. Magistrate Judge Frances Stacy on Thursday, October 9 at 10:00 a.m. The United States has asked the court to hold all defendants arrested in the Houston area in federal custody pending detention hearings later this week beginning Friday, October 10, 2003 at 10:00 a.m.
"Today, we have witnessed the successful results of a joint and cooperative law enforcement effort to crack down on illegal drug trafficking in the Houston and Austin, Texas area," said DEA Special Agent in Charge Kevin Whaley. "Drug traffickers continue to plague our communities, however, in partnership with state and local law enforcement, the Drug Enforcement Administration will continue its efforts to identify and bring to justice those who threaten our communities."
Arrested today in the Houston or the surrounding area (as indicated) were: Justin Keith Jones, a.k.a. "Fat Boy", a.k.a. Baby Huey, a.k.a. "J", 25, 3406 Shadow Bluff Court; David James Martinez, 23, 5030 Ridgehaven; Joaquin A. Jimenez, Jr., 25, 2400 Briarwest; Corey Austin Schulz, a.k.a. "Chopper", 23, 14935 S. Richmond; Gordon Lockwood Atkins, III, 28, 16272 Great Glen; Mark Wade Staples, 18, 11414 Inwood; Carey Ingram, a.k.a. "Drez", 31, 2020 Bentworth Dr.; Allen Stephen Jacobs, Jr., 23, 2210 W. Dallas; Alexander Wade Sanchez, 36, 3406 Shadow Bluff Court; Tracy Merguzhis Schlanker, 35, of 16918 Rippling Mill Dr., Sugar Land, Tx; Antoine Deshawn Mann, 26, 8600 Woodway; Donnell Alexander Mann, 28, 2501 Lazy Hollow; Todd Douglas Craig, 32, 2003 S. Berlin, Brenhan, TX.; Lauren Ann Troublefield, 20, 1422 N. Yegua River, Sugar Land, TX; Elisha Ann Dugger, 21, 3214 Settlers Way, Sugar Land, TX; Travis Paul McDonald, 25, 161 Barbarossa; Terry Lynn LaFountain, 22, 1910 Westmead; Grant Nicholas Jones, 23, 16310 La Gloria; and Quyen Chi Ly, 36, 11311 Ashford Point.
Jacob Norman Mayo, a.k.a. "Stormy", 25, 8527 North Capital of Texas Hwy., Austin, Texas, was arrested in Austin. James Wilson Bryant, 27, is presently in state custody, and will be served with the arrest warrant.
Warrants remain outstanding for the arrest of four others: Simon Ly, a.k.a. Sam Chi Ly, 30, 10118 Altonbury, the lead defendant, and Jim Bob Wilkin, 33, 1031 Golden Nugget, Katy, TX; Gerald Patrick Raifford, Jr., 21, 14935 S. Richmond, Houston; and William Luis Maggard, 25, 2702 Colony Dr., Sugar Land, TX.
The indictment alleges that Simon Ly, Justin Keith Jones, David Martinez, Joaquin Jimenez, Jr.; Corey Schulz, Wilkin, Mayo, Raifford, Atkins, Staples, Ingram, Jacobs, Sanchez, Schlanker, Maggard, Antoine Mann, Donnell Mann, Bryant, Craig, Troublefield, Dugger, McDonald and LaFountain were all involved in a conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute more than 50 grams of methamphetamine and kilogram quantities of marijuana over the course of the last 5 years.
Methamphetamine is a synthetic central nervous system stimulant that is classified as a Schedule II controlled substance. It is widely abused throughout the United States and distributed under the names of "Crystal" and "Speed". Is it commonly powder in form, but is also distributed in tablets or crystal "ice" form. Ice is a very pure, smokable form of methamphetamine that is more addictive than other forms of the substance. When smoked, it may cause severe paranoid delusions, and hallucinations.
Several of these defendants are specifically named in separate charges of possessing with the intent to distribute varying quantities of methamphetamine in separate instances allegedly occurring between January and July 2003.
Based upon their alleged involvement in the drug trafficking activity, the indictment also notifies these defendants of the intent of the United States to forfeit each defendant's interest in no less than $1 million in cash and three residences located at 3406 Shadow Bluff Court, 10118 Altonbury Lane, both in Houston, Harris County, and 11311 Ashford Point Drive located in Sugar Land, Fort Bend County, Texas. The indictment alleges this property was obtained with proceeds of the drug trafficking activity or was used to further the activity.
Justin Keith Jones, Alexander Wade Sanchez, Travis Paul McDonald and Grant Nicholas Jones are also charged with conspiracy to launder money generated by the trafficking activity. Specially, the indictment accuses these defendants of collecting the proceeds generated through the sale of controlled substances, delivering the proceeds to co-conspirators, depositing the proceeds into bank accounts, and using the proceeds to pay for goods and services, including cars and cellular telephones, and purchasing real estate.
Simon Ly and Quyen Chi Ly are also charged with laundering drug proceeds. Both men are accused of engaging in two separate transactions involving more than $10,000 in drug proceeds in January 2003. If convicted, each defendant faces a maximum of ten years in prison, without parole, and a $250,000 fine.
Based upon their alleged involvement in the money laundering activity, the indictment also notifies Justin Jones, Sanchez, McDonald and Grant Jones of the intent of the United States to forfeit each of their interest in no less than $1 million in cash alleged laundered during the course of criminal activity. The indictment also seeks the $25,000 allegedly laundered by Simon and Quyen Ly.
If convicted of the drug trafficking conspiracy, a defendant faces a maximum punishment of no less than 10 or no more than life imprisonment, and a $4 million fine. The money laundering conspiracy charges carries a maximum punishment of 20 years in prison, without parole, and a fine of either $500,000 or twice the amount of the transaction, whichever is greater, upon conviction.
The indictment is the result of an 18 month Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation involving the efforts of several federal, state and local law enforcement agencies including a High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Task Force (HIDTA) group within the Drug Enforcement Administration, agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the United States Marshal's Service, the Internal Revenue Service, the United States Postal Service, the Bureau of Customs and Immigration Enforcement, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Texas Department of Public Safety, the Harris County Sheriff's Department and the Houston Police Department.
An indictment is an accusation of criminal conduct, not evidence. Defendants are presumed innocent unless and until convicted through due process of law.