Released by the Texas Department of Public Safety:
Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) today announced the conclusion of a 20-month narcotics and firearms trafficking investigation. DPS Criminal Investigation Division agents, along with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Anderson County Sheriff's Office, Anderson County District Attorney's Office, Palestine Police Department, Texas Joint Counterdrug Task Force and the U.S. Attorney's Office – completed a joint investigative operation which led to the indictment of 22 defendants, primarily in Anderson County.
Sixteen defendants have been charged with engaging in organized criminal activity. The charge is a first degree felony, punishable by a maximum sentence of 99 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000. Six defendants face federal charges of conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine/possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine, and possession of firearms.
The initial investigation began in May 2012 with information from the Anderson County Sheriff's Office about a possible drug trafficking organization operating within Anderson County. This prompted a collaborative effort between local, state and federal agencies, whose undercover agents and investigators were able to purchase narcotics and firearms from the individuals indicted. The case came to a conclusion with the identification and indictment of key members in the alleged drug trafficking organization.
Sealed indictments against these individuals were obtained by the office of Doug Lowe, Anderson County District Attorney on January 2, 2014 from an Anderson County Grand Jury.
This morning at approximately 6:00 AM, the above mentioned agencies, along with DPS SWAT, SRT-1 and Texas Highway Patrol Troopers served warrants at two locations within the city limits of Palestine. As a result of the warrant service, 18 individuals were taken into custody and investigators seized a pistol, methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia.
The following individuals were arrested and incarcerated at the Anderson County Jail:
Possession with Intent to Distribute Methamphetamine, Conspiracy to Distribute Methamphetamine and Possession of a Firearm While Illegally in the United States:
- Juan Jesus Morales Gante (AKA Chuy), 21
Possession with Intent to Distribute Methamphetamine, Conspiracy To Distribute Methamphetamine:
- Marcela Morales Aguilar, 38
- Carrie Elizabeth Clark, 32
- Michael Lance Collins, 35
- Daniel Galacia, 29
- Hilario Escamila Gonzalez Sr, 41
Engage in Organized Criminal Activity
- Timothy Mark Bowling, 51
- Travis Brotherton, 57
- Holly Rene Miller, 38
- Bridget Anita Ferguson, 33
- Larry Lynn Mills, 65
- Gary Wayne Parker Jr, 49
- Amber Nicole Priehs, 23
- Linda Kay Marr Smith, 53
- Randall Keith Speed, 30
- Jerry Wayne Turner, 47
- Gilberto Estrada Vinaja, 28
- Jon Dee Brown, 39
These remaining individuals have not been located, anyone with information on their whereabouts' is asked to contact Anderson County Crime Stoppers at (903)729-8477:
- Raul Hernandez Gomez, 39
- Bruce James Hogue, 49
- Brittney Estridge Hawthorne, 25
- Jennifer Nacole Finley, 29