Philyaw, Community Relations Manager – City
of Greenville, Texas
NARCOTICS SWEEP RESULTS IN SIGNIFICANT NUMBER OF ARRESTS
MAY 10--Today the Greenville Police Department took massive steps in their attempt to rid the City of drug trafficking and related criminal activity.
At approximately 4 a.m. this morning, more than 100 agents from the Greenville Police Department, Commerce Police Department, Northeast Area Drug Interdiction Task Force (NADITF), Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) began arresting individuals on various drug related warrants. Assistance was also provided by the Hunt County Sheriff’s Office and the United States Marshall Service. The DEA provided air support for the day’s operation.
More than 50 combined Federal and State Grand Jury indictments were recently returned against at least 35 individuals. Of the 31 individuals arrested so far today, 11 individuals have been arrested on federal charges and 20 arrests have been made on state charges. The operation is still underway. Many of the federal charges included possession with intent to distribute crack cocaine and conspiracy to distribute and possession with intent to distribute crack cocaine. Of the federal indictments, 13 carry a penalty of 10 years to life in prison and two carry a penalty of five to 20 years in prison.
Today’s operation is a result of a 10-month long effort by the Greenville Police Department and the DEA. In May 2003 the Greenville Police Department requested assistance from the DEA to reduce the number of drug trafficking and related offenses occurring in Greenville. In order for DEA to respond, there must be a nexus to violence; a strong connection to violent acts and the drug trafficking problem. A large portion of Greenville’s crime and drive-by shooting incidents are a direct result of drug trafficking that occurs in the city.
In July 2004 the DEA began an investigation. Through intelligence gained from previous street level purchases of illicit drugs in the Greenville area and intelligence gained from confidential sources used by the NADITF, the DEA identified a group of individuals believed to be engaged in the organized distribution of illicit drugs and in acts of violent crimes in the Greenville area.
In August 2004, the DEA began a deployment and assigned agents exclusively to the Greenville area to work with the Greenville Police Department and the NADITF. Agents with the DEA and the NADITF began making controlled purchases of illicit narcotics from individuals identified within the organization and were able to obtain high quality audio, video and surveillance evidence that helped secure the indictments. A number of the criminal actions occurred in the City’s Drug Free Zones, which allows the doubling of all fines and penalties.
Arrests made today also resulted in the seizure of property, vehicles, firearms, cash and drugs valued at well over $50,000.
Richard B. Roper, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Texas, said, "Once again, through an effective partnership between federal and local law enforcement, we disrupted and shut down a major drug trafficking organization. Rest assured that we will continue to aggressively pursue this kind of criminal drug activity in North Texas."
“The Drug Enforcement Administration is committed to help bring safety and security to our neighboring communities by helping local law enforcement rid the area of drug traffickers who prey on our communities”, said Gary G. Olenkiewicz, Special Agent in Charge of the DEA’s Dallas Division. “Combined efforts of law enforcement agencies in an investigation of this size have the ability to completely destroy and dismantle the local narcotics trafficking organization.”
“The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms remains focused in our efforts to assist other law enforcement agencies in the fight against violent crime. Armed drug trafficking organizations such as this must be dismantled to ensure a safe community for our citizens,” said Special Agent in Charge Ronnie A. Carter, head of ATF’s Dallas Division. “The magnitude of this case should send a clear message that law enforcement will use all means necessary to help rid our communities of drug traffickers and the violence they foster.”
Police Chief Harold Roseberry said, “The arrests made today will make a tremendous impact on the illegal drug operations that have been active in Greenville and will send a message that this type of criminal activity will not be tolerated in our city. Today is just the beginning of what will be ongoing surveillance and evidence gathering operations developed to crack down on drug trafficking and other violent crimes. Illegal drugs and the people who sell illicit drugs are not welcome in Greenville, Texas.”