Nine Houston Residents Arrested in Largest PCP Seizure in DEA History
DEC 01 -- (HOUSTON) – A four-count federal indictment charging Houston area residents with conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute phencyclidine (PCP) and three counts of possession with the intent to distribute PCP has been unsealed following the arrest of nine charged, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Thomas Hinojosa and United States Attorney José Angel Moreno announced today.
The indictment, returned under seal by a Houston grand jury in November 2010, was unsealed today after a combined task force including the DEA, United States Marshals Service, Houston and Pasadena Police Departments, Harris and San Jacinto County Sheriff’s Offices and the Department of Public Safety arrested Andre Smith, 52, Samuel Joseph Jackson, 35, Tyrone Dewayne Roberson, 38, Michael Ardion, 50, Archie Deneshe Harris, 34, Cameo Deshawn McAfee, 24, Joseph Lamar Broussard, 37, Karola Johnson-Gant, 43, and Chatela Jackson, 32, all Houston residents.
Smith was arrested in Mississippi and will make an initial appearance there. Broussard was arrested in Louisiana, waived his initial appearance and is being transferred to Houston. The remaining seven defendants are expected to make their initial appearances tomorrow afternoon, Dec. 2, 2010, before United States Magistrate Judge John R. Froeschner in Houston.
“The success of the investigation leading to today’s arrests is a result of the close and sustained cooperation between DEA and our law enforcement partners to target and remove drug trafficking organizations operating in and around the Houston metro area,” said Hinojosa. “This investigation highlights the ability of law enforcement agencies in Houston to work together to make our communities safer.”
Today’s arrests and the indictment are the result of an 18-month Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) Operation dubbed Scratch Off. During the course of the investigation, task force agents seized a total of 57 gallons of actual PCP, that is, the controlled substance itself rather than the chemical components used to manufacture the controlled substance, constituting the largest seizure of actual PCP in DEA history.
All defendants are charged in the first count of the indictment with conspiring from July 20, 2009, through the present to possess PCP with the intent to distribute it.
Samuel Jackson is charged in count two of the indictment with possession with the intent to distribute PCP on Dec. 9, 2009. Samuel Jackson along with Harris and McAfee are charged in the third count with possession with the intent to distribute PCP on March 2, 2010; while count four alleges Smith possessed with intent to distribute PCP on Aug. 24, 2010. All four of the charges alleged in the indictment carry a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years and a maximum sentence of life in federal prison and a maximum fine of $10,000,000 upon conviction. There is no parole in the federal system.
With the arrest of the nine today, Operation Scratch Off brings the total to 11 persons charged. Two of the 11 were previously arrested, have pleaded guilty and are pending sentencing.
An indictment is a formal accusation of criminal conduct, not evidence.
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