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News Release
July 22, 2004


Crack Cocaine Distribution Ring Dismantled

July 22--United States Attorney Richard B. Roper announced today that a crack cocaine distribution ring operating in Abilene and other areas in Northern Texas, has been shut down. Fourteen individuals were arrested today in Abilene and Fort Worth, Texas, and federal arrest warrants have been issued for 12 additional defendants who are charged with involvement in the same operation. Seven other defendants, involved in the same operation, are already in state or federal custody on unrelated charges.

Last month, a federal grand jury in Lubbock, Texas, returned an indictment
against Scott Edward Conner and 31 other members of his organization. The 15-count indictment which was unsealed today, charges all 32 defendants with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute various quantities of cocaine and cocaine base (crack cocaine). Additionally, defendants Scott Edward Conner, Curtis Laroi Adams, Tod Dewayne Pimpton, Jr., George Girard Johnson, David Fernandez and Trystan Keun Napper are all charged with various firearms violations.

A federal grand jury in Lubbock, Texas, also returned a separate indictment last month charging Maurice Lerond Clayton with possession with intent to distribute cocaine base and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime. That indictment was also unsealed today.

The following 14 defendants were arrested today:

Scott Edward Conner, age 24, of Abilene and Fort Worth, Texas
Reginald Wayne Davis, age 48, of Abilene, Texas
David Fernandez, age 27, of Abilene, Texas
Stacy Payne Watkins, age 32, of Abilene, Texas
Tiffany Lanisha Payne, age 28, of Abilene, Texas
Virginia Lee Conner, age 48, of Fort Worth, Texas
Brandie Conner, age 21, of Abilene, Texas
Frederick Lamar Dotson, age 34, of Abilene, Texas
Chadwick Darrin Hunter, age 32, of Abilene, Texas
Richard Charles Johnson, age 53, of Abilene, Texas
Curtis Laroi Adams, age 31, of Abilene, Texas
Marta Thompson, age 27, of Abilene, Texas
Cawana Nicole Bennett, age 22, of Fort Worth, Texas
Maurice Lerond Clayton, age 35, of Abilene, Texas

The following defendants, all of Abilene, Texas, are already in state custody on unrelated charges:

George Girard Johnson, age 26
Sandie Nicole Conner, age 21
Byron Jarell Traylor, age 18
Tod Dewayne Pimpton, Jr., age 19
Rashad Lee Bennett, age 29
Louie Arnold Bennett, age 50
Lakema Jabaar Ray, a/k/a “Kemo”, age 23

The indictment alleges that Scott Edward Conner was the leader of a drug trafficking organization responsible for distributing and possessing with intent to distribute various quantities of cocaine and cocaine base (crack cocaine). The Conner Organization distributed the crack cocaine and cocaine in powder form knowing that other conspirators would use it to manufacture crack cocaine.

U.S. Attorney Roper stated, “This is another fine example of the effective partnerships between local, state and federal law enforcement who worked together to shut down this drug organization. This office will continue to aggressively pursue this kind of criminal drug and firearm activity.”

The defendants will be prosecuted in Abilene, Texas. Those arrested are scheduled for an Initial Appearance tomorrow in Abilene before the Honorable Philip Lane, United States Magistrate Judge.

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 on all charges, each defendant faces a maximum statutory sentence of life imprisonment.

United States Attorney Roper praised the coordinated efforts of local, state, and federal law enforcement, including the Drug Enforcement Administration (Lubbock and Fort Worth), Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (Lubbock and Fort Worth), the Texas Department of Public Safety, the Abilene Police Department, and the Taylor County Sheriff’s Office.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Tanya Pierce, of the Lubbock, Texas, United States Attorney’s Office.


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