DOJ SealDepartment of Justice

United States Attorney John L. Ratcliffe
Eastern District of Texas

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                               CONTACT:  DAVILYN WALSTON
WEDNESDAY, JUNE 6, 2007                                                        PHONE: (409) 839-2538
WWW.USDOJ.GOV/USAO/txe                                                    CELL: (409) 553-9881
                                                                                                    

GRAND JURY RETURNS INDICTMENTS
AGAINST 18 IN EASTERN DISTRICT OF TEXAS

 

            TYLER, TX – A federal grand jury returned several indictments this week naming 18 individuals in separate cases of federal violations in the Eastern District of Texas.
 
JAIME ISABEL PEREZ, 26, and EDGARDO RODRIGUEZ, 42, both citizens of Brazil, were indicted for conspiracy to transport illegal aliens; transporting illegal aliens and aiding and abetting.  Rodriguez was also charged with being an alien present without inspection in the United States.  If convicted, each could receive up to 10 years in federal prison and a fine of not more than $250,000 on the conspiracy and transportation counts.  Rodriguez could receive up to six months in federal prison and a fine of up to $5,000 on the present without inspection count.

Information presented in Court stated that the Defendants agreed to transport a group of illegal aliens from Brazil to New Jersey for a fee of $250 per person.  They were stopped in a van containing 11 undocumented aliens driving from Dallas to Titus County, Texas.

This case is being investigated by the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Allen Hurst.

DAVID OSCAR SWIERE, 45, of Hemphill, Texas, was indicted for felon in possession of a firearm.  If convicted, Swiere could receive up to 10 years in federal prison and a fine of up to $250,000.00.

            Information presented in Court stated that on July 18, 2006, the Sabine County Sheriff’s Office received a call regarding a disturbance with weapons.  Officers determined during the call that the Defendant was in possession of and firing a shotgun.  While at the Defendant’s residence, officers recovered two shotguns.  The Defendant has prior felony convictions for Robbery, Burglary of a Motor Vehicle and Possession of a Controlled Substance.

This case is being investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.  This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Lisa Flournoy.

JOHN CALVIN WHITMORE, II, 25, of Lufkin, Texas, was indicted on charges of being a felon in possession of a firearm.  If convicted, Whitmore could receive up to 10 years in federal prison and a fine of up to $250,000.00.

 

            Information presented in Court stated that an investigation by the Lufkin Police Department revealed that the Defendant possessed and sold a pistol to an individual on September 11, 2006.  The Defendant has prior felony convictions for Possession of a Controlled Substance.

            This case is being investigated by the Lufkin Police Department and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Lisa Flournoy.

            AKEEM BERNARD STROUPE, 20, BRANDON SCOTT LOVE, 20, both of Carthage, and SIMEON OWENS, 21, of Beachville, were indicted on charges of bank robbery and aiding and abetting.  If convicted, each could receive up to 25 years in federal prison and a fine of up to $250,000.00.
           
            Information presented in court stated that the Defendants robbed the Farmers State Bank located in Carthage, Texas on May 31, 2007.  They restrained a female teller and ordered her to open the vault where they then stole $152,980 in U.S. currency. 

            This case is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Richard Moore.

            MICHAEL LAYNE SMITH, 39, of Kilgore, JESSE JOSEPH MONTOYA, 26, of Longview, RAUL BERUMEN BRISENO, 29, also of Longview, and SANTIAGO MONTIEL AGUIRRE, 30, were indicted on charges of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and distribution of 500 grams or more of a mixture or substance containing a detectable amount of methamphetamine.  If convicted, each could receive up to 10 years in federal prison and a fine of up to $4 million.

            According to court documents, Smith purchased multiple ounces of methamphetamine from defendants in the Longview, Texas area.

            The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is investigating this case.  Assistant United States Attorney Richard Moore is prosecuting this case.

            RONALD LYNN PAGE, 54, JANICE MARIE BURTON, 43, and JOSHUA RAY SHAPLEY, 24, all of Longview, were indicted on charges of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and distribution of methamphetamine; possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance and distribution of methamphetamine.  Page and Shapley were both charged with felon in possession of a firearm and possession of a firearm during a drug trafficking crime.  Shapley was charged with possession of a stolen firearm.

            If convicted of the conspiracy count, each defendant could receive up to 10 years in federal prison and a fine of up to $4 million.  The drug possession and distribution counts all carry sentences of up to 20 years in federal prison and a fine of up to $1 millions.  The possession of a firearm during a drug crime count carries a term of at least five years up to life in federal prison which must be served consecutively to any other term of imprisonment and a fine not to exceed $250,000.00.  The felon in possession counts carry a term of up to ten years in federal prison and a fine of up to $250,000.00.  A term of up to 10 years in federal prison and a fine of up to $250,000 may be imposed on the possession of a stolen firearm count.

            Information presented in court stated that the Defendants were named in a multi-count indictment charging them with conspiring to distribute over 500 grams of methamphetamine in the East Texas area.  They were also charged with several individual possession with intent to distribute counts.  Page and Shapley were named in separate counts for being felons in possession of firearms.  Shapley was charged with possessing a stolen firearm.  Additionally, Page was accused of using a firearm during a drug trafficking crime.

            This case is being investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Longview Police Department CODE Unit.  The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Jim Middleton.

            CEDRIC SHAWN MITCHELL PAYNE, 32, of New Orleans, Louisiana, was indicted for possession with intent to distribute cocaine.  If convicted, Payne is facing a term of up to life in federal prison and a fine of up to $4 million.

This case is being investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration Task Force and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Richard Moore.

MARY ANN BRALY, 63, of Kilgore, was indicted for structuring transactions to avoid reporting requirements.  If convicted, Braly faces up to 10 years in federal prison and a fine of up to $1 million.

According to court documents, Braly owns and operates a liquor store in Kilgore, Texas.  Between July 1, 2002 and November 17, 2006, she “structured” 128 bank deposits of currency in amounts below $10,000 to avoid currency reporting requirements.  This case is being investigated by the Internal Revenue Service and Suspicious Activity Reporting Task Force and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Wes Rivers.

LORI WESTBROOK aka LORI WAGNER, 42, of Lewisville, was indicted for Conspiracy to Commit Access Device Fraud and for the actual commission of Access Device Fraud. 

According to the indictment, from January 14, 2007 through January 28, 2007, in Smith County Texas, Westbrook and others conspired and agreed to present fraudulently obtained credit card numbers to approximately nine different Smith County retailers.  The scheme resulted in the loss of over $5,000.00 in goods and services.

If convicted, Westbrook is facing a maximum penalty of ten years in federal prison and a $250,000.00 fine.

This case is being investigated by the Social Security Administration, Office of Inspector General and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Jim Noble.

            DAMON WYNN COCKERHAM, 39, of Dallas, was indicted for conspiracy to distribute or dispense or possess with intent to distribute or dispense cocaine.  If convicted, he could receive not less than 10 years nor more than life imprisonment, a fine not to exceed $4 million, or both – supervised release of at least 5 years.

            According to court documents, Cockerham was involved in the distribution of multi-kilograms of cocaine in the north Dallas and Eastern District of Texas area.

            This case is being investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Ernest Gonzalez.

            A grand jury indictment is not evidence of guilt.  All defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

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