DOJ Seal Department of Justice  
United States Attorney John M. Bales
Eastern District of Texas


THURSDAY, MAY 20, 2010            PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICER             CELL: (409) 553-9881 DIRECT: (409) 981-7902


44 in Custody on Federal Drug Charges

            TYLER, Texas – U.S. Attorney John M. Bales announced a combined task force led by the Texas Department of Public Safety Criminal Investigation Division began arresting individuals charged with involvement in a methamphetamine manufacturing and distribution criminal enterprise on May 19-20, 2010 in the Panola, Rusk, Gregg, Upshur, Marion, and Cherokee counties, Texas, areas.  Those arrests continued through today with agents and officers executing approximately 50 federal arrest warrants.  Eighteen defendants have previously been arrested on similar charges in recent months. 

            According to court documents, an investigation was conducted of the methamphetamine manufacturing practices of suspected parties for several months.  These court documents suggest that these parties traveled to numerous pharmacies in the Eastern District of Texas as well as Shreveport, Louisiana and Navarro County, Texas, from approximately February 2008 through at least February 2010, and purchased thousands of boxes of cold pills containing pseudoephedrine in order to manufacture large quantities of methamphetamine for personal use and for distribution in the Eastern District of Texas. 

            On May 5th and 6th, 2010, a federal grand jury returned 13 indictments charging the defendants, cumulatively, with over 2000 counts of federal drug violations.  The indictments resulted from a lengthy investigation launched by the Texas Department of Public Safety Criminal Investigations Division, the FBI, the U.S. Marshals Service, the Panola County Sheriff's Department, the Upshur County Sheriff's Department, the Gilmer Police Department, the Rusk County Sheriff's Department, the Henderson Police Department, the Gregg County CODE Unit, the Marion County Sheriff's Department, the Jefferson Police Department, Cherokee County Precinct 4 Constable Office, and the New Summerfield Police Department. 

            If convicted, the defendants face up to life in federal prison and fines of up to $4 million.  It is important to note that an indictment is merely a charge and should not be considered as evidence of either innocence or guilt.

            The 44 defendants in custody have had, or will have, initial appearances before U.S. Magistrate Judge Judith K. Guthrie in Tyler, Texas, and U.S. Magistrate Judge Charles Everingham IV, in Marshall, Texas.

            Those named in the indictments are each charged with one count of Conspiracy to Distribute Methamphetamine as well as multiple counts of Possession of a List 1 Chemical.  In addition, some defendants face additional charges, including firearms violations.  The defendants and the number of counts of Possession of a List 1 Chemical are as follows:

            These defendants are being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Bill Baldwin, Frank Coan, Mary Ann Cozby, Allen Hurst, Alan Jackson, Gregg Marchessault, Jim Middleton, Richard L. Moore, Jim Noble, Randi Russell and Chris Tortorice.


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