July 16, 2009
FREEPORT DRUG TRAFFICKING ORGANIZATION AND ASSOCIATES INDICTED ON DRUG TRAFFICKING CHARGES
(HOUSTON) – Several alleged members and associates of a drug trafficking organization operating in and around the Freeport/Lake Jackson, Texas, area have been indicted for trafficking in significant quantities of cocaine and crack cocaine, United States Attorney Tim Johnson, FBI Special Agent in Charge Richard Powers, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)-Houston Special Agent in Charge Zoran B. Yankovich, Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) Narcotics Lt. Dan Webb, Chief Executive and Administrative Officer for the City of Freeport, Jeff Pynes, as well as Paul A. Hromadka, chief of the Lake Jackson Police Department announced today. The defendants will appear tomorrow before U.S. Magistrate Calvin Botley.
“Drug trafficking poses a serious threat to the vitality of our neighborhoods, said Powers. “Today's arrests demonstrate the FBI and its law enforcement partners will use all available resources in working together to combat crime in order to make our communities safer places to live and work.”
The 15-count indictment partially unsealed today resulting in today’s arrest are the result of Operation Blood Loss, a two-year-long investigation by the Houston Coastal Safe Street Gang Task Force comprised of personnel from the FBI, DEA, DPS, and the Freeport and Lake Jackson Police Departments. With the assistance of the Texas City Police Department, the Galveston Police Department, the Clute Police Department, the Lake Jackson Police Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, members of the Houston Coastal Safe Street Gang Task Force arrested eight alleged members and associates of the drug trafficking organization. Two others are in custody on other charges. The indictment remains sealed as to others not yet in custody and warrants remain outstanding for their arrest.
“These arrests reflect a coordinated effort toward ridding our communities of problem groups involved in illegal activities and malfeasance,” said Yankovich. “Disbanding these problem groups will give neighborhoods back to honest citizens and their families.”
“Operation Blood Loss is but the latest in a series of ongoing investigations undertaken by the federal, state and local agency partners of the Houston Coastal Safe Street Gang Task Force that has resulted in the filing of formal federal charges against drug trafficking members and their associates within the last year,” said Hromadka.
The indictment, returned on June 1, 2009, was partially unsealed today following the arrest of the alleged members and associates of the group accused of being involved in trafficking large quantities of illegal drugs. Ten from the Houston/Freeport area are in custody and will make their initial appearances in Houston tomorrow. Those include Jareth Ti Edwards, aka Boo, 20, of West Columbia, Texas; along with Scott Michael Long, aka Hollywood, 33; Kerry Lee Jammer, aka Pluck, 35; Sidney Duane Mitchell, III, aka Li’l Sid, 33; Terron Jerese Williams, aka Blak, 28; Richard Glenn Bryant, aka Big Rich, 25, Sarretta Patrice Long, 27; and Miranda Lee Blocker, 32, all of Freeport, Texas. The United States will seek to hold the defendants in federal custody without bond pending their trial. Two others, Terrence Terrell Taylor, aka Starch, 26, of Clute, Texas; Arcinio Lavar Knox, aka C-Note, 31; are currently in state or federal custody on other charges. Warrants have issued for their arrest and writs will be sought to transfer them into federal custody in this district to answer the charges.
“DPS Narcotics and our federal and local law enforcement partners work tirelessly to stem the flow of drugs in our state,” said Webb. “Today’s arrests are the result of an investigative effort which we believe will disrupt the movement of drugs into the Freeport/Lake Jackson area of Brazoria County.”
Between January 2007 through June 2009, the indictment alleges the members and associates of the drug trafficking organization conspired to distribute the illegal drugs. Several defendants are accused in separate charges of possessing with intent to distribute varying quantities of cocaine or crack cocaine during the course of the conspiracy.
“This collaborative effort is a clear example of how the men and women with the local, state and federal agencies worked jointly to have a positive impact on crime in our region. We can’t be more pleased with the assistance and efforts of the FBI in this operation. There is no doubt that our state and communities are much safer today as a result of this collaborative effort,” said Pynes.
The conspiracy charge carries a mandatory minimum sentence of no less than 10 years imprisonment up to a life term of imprisonment and a $4 million fine upon conviction. The separate substantive counts carry an equal or lesser sentence depending on the amount of drugs involved in the offense.
“I commend the efforts of all federal, state, and local agencies associated with the success of this two year investigation,” furthered Hromadka. “The federal indictments and arrests should puts drug dealers on notice that narcotic activity will not be tolerated and will be aggressively investigated, and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”
This coordinated effort leading to the arrests are the result of the FBI, DEA, Texas DPS, the police departments of Freeport, Lake Jackson, Clute, Texas City and Galveston as well as the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the United States Marshals Service. Assistant U.S. Attorney Ted Imperato for the Southern District of Texas is prosecuting the case.
An indictment is a formal accusation of criminal conduct, not evidence.
A defendant is presumed innocent unless convicted through due process of law.
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