FEDERAL TRIAL DATE SET FOR DEFENDANTS IN TERRELL, TEXAS, CRACK COCAINE DISTRIBUTION CONSPIRACY CASE
DALLAS —Twelve of the 13 defendants, charged in a federal indictment with running a crack cocaine distribution conspiracy since 2009 in Terrell, Texas, are in custody or have been arrested, and a trial date of June 27, 2011, before U.S. District Judge Sam A. Lindsay, has been set. Defendant Tarius Taylor, 39, remains a fugitive. This announcement was made today by James T. Jacks, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas and Jody L. Lay, Chief of the Terrell Police Department.
Last Thursday, April 21, 2011, nine defendants charged in that indictment were arrested in an operation led by the Terell Police Department and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). On Saturday, April 23, 2011, another defendant, Archie Nobles, 51, was arrested. All defendants who were arrested have had their initial appearances and arraignments; all pleaded not guilty to the charges. Defendants Tommy Allen, 32; Gary Dell Gray, 38; Wilbert Dashun Lewis, 31; Cora Stokes, 53; Marvin Lagaye Stokes, 35; David Wilcots, 50; Eddie Williams, 42; and Vaelon Wofford, 38; remain in federal custody pending trial. Defendants Ora Stokes, 61; L.C. Stokes, Jr., 65; and Archie Nobles have been released on personal recognizance bonds. It is anticipated that defendant Keithian Daniels, 35, will surrender to federal authorities after his release from hospitalization.
In addition to the conspiracy charge, the indictment also alleges that on September 30, 2010, Cora Stokes knowingly and intentionally possessed with the intent to distribute approximately 11 grams of cocaine base at the Exxon Tiger Mart truck stop. L.C. Stokes, Jr., is also charged with maintaining a drug-involved business, to store and distribute the crack cocaine, on South Medora Street in Terrell, since 2009. Cora and Ora Stokes are sisters. Marvin Stokes is Cora Stokes’ son. L.C. Stokes is Cora and Ora Stokes’ uncle.
A federal indictment is an accusation by a grand jury and a defendant is entitled to the presumption of innocence unless proven guilty. If convicted, however, the conspiracy count carries a statutory sentence of at least five years and up to 40 years in prison and a $2 million fine. The possession with intent to distribute and the distribution of cocaine at a truck stop offense carries, upon conviction, a statutory sentence of at least five years and up to 80 years in prison and a $4 million fine. The maintaining a drug-involved premises count carries, upon conviction, a maximum statutory sentence of four years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The indictment also includes a forfeiture allegation which would require the defendants, upon conviction, to forfeit all property, real or personal, derived from the proceeds of their crime, including the property at 502 South Medora Street in Terrell.
According to Chief Lay, in addition to those indicted on federal charges, the Terrell Police Department is filing felony state charges on five defendants. The state charges range from Possession With Intent to Deliver a Controlled Substance, less than one gram, to Possession With Intent to Deliver a Controlled Substance, four grams to 200 grams. All defendants arrested on state charges have been transferred to the Kaufman County Jail, with bonds set on each defendant. Timothy Stokes, 36; Shelia Rena Stokes, 40; Terry Lewis Stokes, 40; Sheila Lynell Mosley, 41; and Deshaun Lynne Barnes, 22; are in custody awaiting trial settings. Allen Lee Alvin, 48, is currently wanted for Possession With Intent to Deliver a Controlled Substance, less than one gram; he remains at-large.
“If you consider the overall impact of this drug operation on our community, in its totality, these arrests and this investigation have had a tremendous impact on this city,” said Chief Lay. “Our community has been plagued by this drug and the drug-seeking behavior that accompanies it. A major reason for the crime associated with the use of crack has been the open availability of it. For now we have significantly interrupted that availability. It is up to our community to continue working together and remain vigilant with regards to illicit drug sales in our city. I am convinced we can stay on top of this problem, as a community, and remove the heavy burden we have endured as a result of illicit drug availability and the crimes generated in support of it. This is a new day for Terrell, Texas and a new opportunity. We will continue to work with all our partners to keep our community safe and free from the adverse impact of illicit drugs.”
The investigation is being conducted by the Terrell Police Department; the DEA; the U.S.; Marshals Service; the North Texas HIDTA; and the Kaufman County District Attorney’s Office, Sheriff’s Office and Police Department.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Suzanna O. Etessam, of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Dallas, is in charge of the federal prosecution.
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