DALLAS, TX – Nine defendants, who are charged in a federal indictment with running a crack cocaine distribution conspiracy since 2009 in Terrell, Texas, were arrested today in an operation led by the Terrell Police Department and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). All those arrested are scheduled to make their initial appearance tomorrow in federal court, beginning at 11:00 a.m., before U.S. Magistrate Judge Paul D. Stickney.
Today’s announcement was made by James T. Jacks, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas; Jody L. Lay, Chief of the Terrell Police Department; and James L. Capra, Special Agent in Charge of the DEA’s Dallas Division.
“On behalf of the entire community, the Terrell Police Department is extremely appreciative of the partnerships we have and those that participated in this effort, including the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Texas, the DEA, the U.S. Marshals Service, the North Texas High Intensity Drug Trafficking Agency (HIDTA), the Kaufman County District Attorney’s Office, the Kaufman County Sheriff’s Office, the Kaufman Police Department and the DEA Fixed Air Wing,” said Chief Lay. “This is a great day for our city. Our community is fed up with repeat criminals who have no regard for the safety and rights of others, as well as utter disdain for law and order. This community is taking a stand for the future of our neighborhoods and the future of our children — Terrell’s future. We will not tolerate lawlessness. We will not live in fear for the safety of our children. We will preserve and protect our future.”
“Today’s enforcement action, the culmination of top notch investigative work, demonstrates that federal, state and local law enforcement are united in their efforts to shut down dangerous drug trafficking organizations that infiltrate our communities and rob citizens of their safety,” said U.S. Attorney Jacks. “We will continue to aggressively fight violent crime to make our streets safe and improve the quality of life for the citizens of north Texas.”
“During the course of this investigation, investigators witnessed how this violent crack cocaine organization threatened to erode the safety and security of the residents of this town,” said Special Agent in Charge Capra. “Today, due to the collective efforts of the agencies involved, we have taken the first step in returning this community back to the citizens.”
Listed below are the defendants, all residents of Terrell, who were arrested today. Each is charged with one count of conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute more than 28 grams of cocaine base (crack cocaine):
The indictment also alleges that on September 30, 2010, defendant Cora Stokes knowingly and intentionally possessed with the intent to distribute approximately 11 grams of cocaine base at the Exxon Tiger Mart truck stop. Defendant L.C. Stokes, Jr., is also charged with maintaining a drug-involved business, to store and distribute the crack cocaine, on South Medora Street in Terrell, since 2009. Cora and Ora Stokes are sisters. Marvin Stokes is Cora Stokes’ son. L.C. Stokes is Cora and Ora Stokes’ uncle.
An indictment is an accusation by a federal grand jury and a defendant is entitled to the presumption of innocence unless proven guilty. If convicted, however, the conspiracy count carries a statutory sentence of at least five years and up to 40 years in prison and a $2 million fine. The possession with intent to distribute and the distribution of cocaine base at a truck stop offense carries, upon conviction, a statutory sentence of at least five years and up to 80 years in prison and a $4 million fine. The maintaining a drug-involved premises count carries, upon conviction, a maximum statutory sentence of four years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The indictment also includes a forfeiture allegation which would require the defendants, upon conviction, to forfeit all property, real or personal, derived from the proceeds of their crime, including the property at 502 South Medora in Terrell.
The case is being investigated by the Terrell Police Department; the DEA; the U.S.; Marshals Service; the North Texas HIDTA; and the Kaufman County District Attorney’s Office, Sheriff’s Office and Police Department.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Suzanna O. Etessam is in charge of the prosecution.