FEB 01 (SHREVEPORT, La.) Drug Enforcement Administration Acting Special Agent in Charge Joseph W. Shepherd announced today that a year-long undercover investigation resulted in 15 people being charged for distributing cocaine and methamphetamine in the Mansfield area.
The charges and arrests are part of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) “Operation Limpiar Casa.” The Drug Enforcement Administration, Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Desoto Parish Sheriff’s Office, the Mansfield Police Department, and the Tri-Parish Task Force which includes DeSoto, Sabine and Red River Parishes, participate in the OCDETF program and conducted the operation.
The defendants face a variety of federal and state charges. Two federal indictments and 10 state arrest warrants to date have been returned.
A federal grand jury returned the first “Operation Limpair Casa” indictment Sept. 4, 2012, charging Bartholomew Claiborne, 25, of Mansfield, with 14 counts of distributing cocaine. Claiborne, who was an elected member of the Desoto Parish School Board, is scheduled to plead guilty to one count of distributing cocaine. Claiborne faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted.
A federal grand jury returned a second indictment in January 2013 charging Laquon Ashton, 25, of Arlington, Texas; Seneca Colbert, 32; Brian Davis, 37; and Janette Ashton, 53, all three of Mansfield, with multiple counts including conspiracy and distribution of cocaine. Laquon Ashton and Janette Ashton are also charged with conspiracy and distribution of methamphetamine. The defendants each face 5 to 40 years in prison if convicted.
State distribution of cocaine arrest warrants related to the operation were also obtained for Malcolm Flowers, 24; Johnathan Mcintyre, 23; Curtis Jones, 27; Dominique D. Sanders, 24; Preston Malone, 32; Roderick Canada, 23; Demarcus Green, 24; Mark C. Harris, 42; Roynell O’neal, 23; and James Turner, 37, all of Mansfield.
The OCDETF program is a joint federal, state and local cooperative approach to combat drug trafficking and is the nation’s primary tool for disrupting and dismantling major drug trafficking organizations, targeting national and regional level drug trafficking organizations, and coordinating the necessary law enforcement entities and resources to disrupt or dismantle the targeted criminal organization and seize their assets.
U.S. Attorney Stephanie Finley stated, “The U.S. Attorney’s Office, along with our federal, state, and local partners, is committed to keeping our communities safe. Breaking up this drug distribution ring is a huge step in countering the flow of these illegal substances into the community,” Finley said. “I want to thank all the agencies who have partnered with us on this operation and who continue to work to enforce both federal and state narcotics laws.” First Assistant U.S. Attorney Alexander Van Hook is prosecuting the case.
A criminal indictment is a formal charge against a defendant. That charge is merely an accusation and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.Parents and children are encouraged to educate themselves about the dangers of drugs by visiting DEA’s interactive websites at www.JustThinkTwice.com, www.GetSmartAboutDrugs.com and www.dea.gov.