Texas City Safe Street’s Task Force Nets Four More For Trafficking Crack
|Sept. 9, 2011|
HOUSTON – The investigative efforts of the FBI’s Texas City Safe Street Task Force has resulted in yet another indictment against several Bacliff area men for trafficking crack cocaine, United States Attorney Jose Angel Moreno announced today along with FBI Houston Special Agent in Charge Stephen L. Morris.
After a two-year investigation, teams comprised of agents of the FBI, DEA, Texas Department of Public Safety Narcotics Division, Galveston Police Department, U.S. Marshals Service and officers of the Galveston County Sheriff’s Office executed arrest warrants late last evening. The arrest warrants issued as the result of an indictment returned under seal by a federal grand jury in Houston on Aug. 24, 2011. The indictment was unsealed upon those arrests. One of the four arrested was Thomas Tyler Black, aka “Tye,” or “T-Black” or “Black,” 24, of Bacliff, Texas. The others charged along with Black include Jamie Lynn Finley, 29; Cameron Lee Sanford, 19; and William Hunter Sanford, 20, of Bacliff or San Leon, Texas. All four are expected to appear in federal court in Galveston before U.S. Magistrate Judge John Froeschner this afternoon at 2:00 p.m. to answer charges contained in the indictment. The United States will seek a hearing on its motion to continue the detention of all four defendants without bond pending trial on the charges.
In 2008 the FBI Texas City Safe Street Task Force along with the Galveston County Sheriff’s Department and several other state and local agencies initiated an investigation targeting the Fourth Street Bloods (4SB), focused on the leadership of the gang and their reputed drug sales network. According to investigators, the 4th Street Bloods originated in the mid 1990s in the Bayshore Area of northeastern Galveston County. The 4th Street Bloods name derived from the location of the gang’s activity, which was 4410 4th Street in Bacliff, Texas. Members display their affiliation with the gang through tattoos such as: “Kliff Side,” “4SP” (referring to “4th Street Playa”), “4th Street Playa,” “4th Street Blood,” “Playa 4 Life,” “MOB” (referring to “Member of Bloods”) or “Paw Prints.”
That investigation culminated in the arrest and conviction of 16 members and associates of the gang on federal drug conspiracy charges, United States v. Ruppert et al., criminal number H-08-09. In 2009, the Galveston County Sheriff’s Office Special Crimes Unit continued the investigative efforts focusing on disrupting and dismantling the assumed new leadership of the 4th Street Bloods. The results of that investigative effort is the indictment announced today.
“The FBI’s Texas City Safe Street’s Task Force has worked tirelessly to disrupt and dismantle the leadership of gangs operating in their area,” said Moreno. “We commend the task force for its continuing efforts and pledge our continuing support of efforts to remove the threat posed by illicit and often violent gang activity in our communities.“
The 12-count indictment charges Black and the three other defendants with conspiring to possess with intent to distribute crack cocaine. The grand jury alleged the defendants conspired with one another and others known and unknown from December 2009 through February 2011, to distribute crack cocaine. Black is charged in seven additional substantive drug trafficking counts. Each of the remaining three defendants is also charged in at least three substantive counts of possessing with intent to distribute various quantities of crack cocaine.
If convicted of the conspiracy charge, all four defendants face a mandatory minimum of five years imprisonment, a $2 million fine and four years supervised release. All substantive counts carry an equal or lesser possible sentence depending upon the amount of drugs involved.
Assistant United States Attorneys Mark E. Donnelly and Tim S. Braley are prosecuting the case.
An indictment is a formal accusation of criminal conduct, not evidence.
A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until convicted through due process of law.