Meth Organization Dismantled in Erath County
JUL 02 -- FORT WORTH, Texas — Ten alleged members of a methamphetamine trafficking organization operating out of the Erath County, Texas, area, are in custody on charges outlined in a federal indictment returned by a federal grand jury in Dallas last week, announced U.S. Attorney Richard B. Roper of the Northern District of Texas and Special Agent in Charge James L. Capra of the DEA Dallas Field Division. Special Agents with the DEA and officers with the Stephenville, Texas, Police Department arrested nine of the ten defendants in operations today and in late May.
Those named in the indictment are:
“Today’s enforcement action effectively shut down a dangerous drug trafficking organization responsible for distributing large quantities of methamphetamine in the Stephenville area,” said Special Agent in Charge Capra. “We remain committed to working with our law enforcement partners in ensuring the safety and security of our communities.”
U.S. Attorney Roper said, “The streets are safer today in Erath County because of the great cooperative law enforcement efforts of the DEA, the Stephenville Police Department, the Erath County District Attorney’s Office and the Erath County Sheriff’s Office. I applaud their efforts which resulted in these arrests and this indictment.”
Count one of the three-count indictment charges Joe Perales Bobby Perales Will Gasaway, Brooke Cooper, Jeff Berry, Robyn Miles, and Jessica Taylor each with conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance. The indictment alleges that from October 2004, these defendants conspired to distribute 50 grams or more of methamphetamine. If convicted on this charge, they each face a minimum sentence of five years and a maximum sentence of 40 years.
Count two of the indictment charges Joe Perales, Bobby Perales, Will Gasaway, Michael Sherrouse, Brooke Cooper, Tracy Deible, and Jaime Enrique Sanchez with tampering with a DEA confidential informant for kidnapping and detaining the DEA informant. If convicted on this count, they each face up to 30 years imprisonment.
Joe Perales and Bobby Perales are also each charged in count three with using a firearm in relation to a crime of violence. If convicted on this charge, they would each face a minimum sentence of five years and a maximum sentence of life to run consecutively to any other sentence.
Beginning in October 2007, the Stephenville Police Department began investigating the drug trafficking activities of Joe Perales and Bobby Perales and they learned that Joe Perales was transporting large quantities of meth from the Dallas/Fort Worth area to the Stephenville area. The Stephenville, Texas, Police Department Narcotics Group made approximately 20 undercover purchases of methamphetamine from members of the Joe Perales group. DEA joined the investigation and since then, agents with the DEA and members of the Stephenville Police Department Narcotics Group have executed numerous search warrants. During the course of the investigation, more than two pounds of methamphetamine, worth an estimated street value of $80,000 has been seized. In addition, 28 grams of cocaine, 10 pounds of marijuana, and five firearms have been seized.
“The cases filed, and arrests made, in this investigation are the result of many hours of hard work and cooperation between the Special Agents and Task Force Officers of the Fort Worth DEA Office and Detectives of the Stephenville Police Department. We feel that this case will have a large impact in our area and decrease methamphetamine activity in our community,” said Captain Jason King of the Stephenville Police Department.
Erath County District Attorney, John Terrill said, "This is a first step in a cooperative effort by both federal and state authorities in this part of North Texas to address the serious problem of distribution and use of this viciously addictive drug. I, along with our local law enforcement community, very much appreciate the cooperative efforts between federal and local agencies that have resulted in today's arrests. Without the valuable assistance of the Federal Drug Enforcement Administration we could not have transitioned from what was a local effort into a much larger operation that will be much more effective in combating this criminal activity."
An indictment is an accusation by a federal grand jury and a defendant is entitled to the presumption of innocence unless proven guilty.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Jay Dewald is prosecuting the case.