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Authorities Make Arrests in Connection with Odessa-based Methamphetamine Distribution Operation

JUNE 05 (ODESSA, TEXAS) - Federal, state and local authorities have arrested 29 individuals--24 who face federal and five who face state charges--in connection with an Odessa-based methamphetamine distribution operation announced United States Attorney Robert Pitman, Drug Enforcement Administration Special Agent in Charge Will Glaspy and Federal Bureau of Investigation Special Agent in Charge Douglas E. Lindquist.

Special Agent in Charge Will Glaspy answers questions from the press following a large takedown in Odessa, Texas.
Special Agent in Charge Will Glaspy answers questions from the press following a large takedown in Odessa, Texas.

On May 28, 2014, a federal grand jury in Midland returned 14 sealed indictments charging 22 of those arrested with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine. Seven of the indicted defendants—Jerrett Tate Fuller, Jason Rendon, Weslee Harless, Shonda Crosson, Joshua Lynn Merritt, Phillip Ray Powell and Angelee Daniels--are also charged with one substantive count of possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine. Those indictments were unsealed earlier today. In addition, defendants Clyde Smith Jr., Walter Simes and Cheryl Tolbert, who were already in custody prior to today, were indicted by the federal grand jury prior to last month for possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance.

Authorities allege that under the direction of ringleader 41–year-old Shawn Allen Niece of Odessa, the defendants participated in a methamphetamine distribution scheme since September 2013 that included the supply of methamphetamine from San Diego, CA; Las Vegas, NV; and, Dallas, TX, to Niece and others in Odessa for distribution throughout the Permian Basin.

In addition to the indicted defendants, authorities arrested six other individuals this morning—one charged by a federal criminal complaint for possession with intent to distribute “crack” cocaine; the other five were arrested based on state parole violations or outstanding warrants.

During this investigation, authorities seized over eleven pounds of methamphetamine, several firearms, over $62,000 in United States currency and other assets.

“Methamphetamine is a destructive poison that has horrific consequences to the quality of life in any community,” said Drug Enforcement Administration Special Agent in Charge Will Glaspy. “Together with our local and federal law enforcement partners, DEA is holding meth traffickers accountable. We are seizing their profits, shutting down their distribution networks, and putting these dealers where they belong, behind bars.”

Upon conviction, the defendants face between ten years and life in federal prison; between five and 40 years in federal prison; or, up to 20 years in federal prison.  It is important to note that an indictment is merely a charge and should not be considered as evidence of guilt. The defendants are innocent unless proven guilty in a court of law.

This case resulted from a joint Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation conducted by the Drug Enforcement Administration, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the U.S. Marshals Service together with the Ector County Sheriff’s Office, Midland County Sheriff’s Office, Midland Police Department, Odessa Police Department, and the Texas Department of Public Safety. Assistant United States Attorney V. LaTawn Warsaw is prosecuting this case on behalf of the Government.

The DEA El Paso Division encourages parents, and their children to visit the following interactive websites at www.justthinktwice.com, www.GetSmartAboutDrugs.com and www.dea.gov.


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