Local Crack Organization Shattered
FEB 23 -- Richard B. Roper, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Texas and Gary G. Olenkiewicz, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) Dallas Division announced this afternoon at a press conference in Lubbock, Texas, that 22 people are in custody on state and federal arrest warrants. More than 100 law enforcement officers conducted raids this morning to serve federal and state arrest warrants on people suspected of trafficking crack cocaine. The ten federal indictments charge various counts of conspiracy to distribute cocaine base (crack cocaine); possession of cocaine with intent to manufacture cocaine base; distribution of and possession with intent to distribute cocaine base; possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine; possession of a firearm by a convicted felon; possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime; and receipt of a firearm and ammunition by a person under felony indictment.
"The arrests made today are a great example of community policing. The agents of the Drug Enforcement Administration worked with members of the Lubbock Police Department, Lubbock Sheriff’s Office and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to take back crime infested neighborhoods. Many of the arrests and search warrants today were at crack houses which plague local neighborhoods and make everyday living for our children a hazard. The success of the operation today is a direct result of the positive relationship between local, state and federal law enforcement all working toward a common goal --- a safer community," said Gary G. Olenkiewicz.
U.S. Attorney Roper said, "In the last year in several major investigations, Federal and local law enforcement have come together in an unprecedented way to strategically attack narcotics and gun crime in West Texas. Today’s enforcement action effectively shut down a dangerous and large drug trafficking organization --- showing once again that law enforcement will not rest until our communities are safe and drug free." Roper continued, "As a result of these recent initiatives the penalties doled out for these West Texas narcotics traffickers have been severe. For example, less than two weeks ago, Judge Cummings imposed a sentence of life without parole for a defendant convicted on drug and firearms charges."
Today’s arrests are the culmination of an 18-month investigation in which the DEA Task Force, assisted by local, state and federal authorities from the Lubbock area, worked undercover to arrest drug distributors. During the course of the investigation, more than two kilograms of crack cocaine, with an estimated street value of $200,000 was seized, and today, substantial quantities of narcotics, weapons, and U.S. currency were seized, along with vehicles and jewelry.
The following defendants, charged in federal indictments, were arrested today:
The following defendants, charged in today’s indictments, are already in custody:
The following defendants, named in the federal indictments, are fugitives:
U.S. Attorney Roper thanked and praised the excellent cooperative investigative work of the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Lubbock Police Department, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Lubbock County Sheriff’s Office who together spearheaded the investigation. U.S. Attorney Roper also praised the following who contributed to the success of the investigation: Lubbock County District Attorney’s Office, Internal Revenue Service - Criminal Investigation, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Texas Department of Public Safety, the Lubbock EMS Special Tactics and Rescue Team (S.T.A.R.) and the Plainview and Floydada, Texas, Police Departments.
An indictment is an accusation by a federal grand jury and a defendant is entitled to the presumption of innocence unless proven guilty. Generally, most of the defendants, if convicted, face up to life imprisonment, however, a few of the defendants face up to 40 years imprisonment.
The cases are being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Tanya K. Pierce, of the Lubbock, Texas, United States Attorney’s Office.