– With the help of nearly two dozen area law enforcement agencies, seven Greenville residents and one Mesquite man were arrested Tuesday in connection to a major crack cocaine distribution operation.
The busts were part of an eight-month long investigation, conducted by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Mobile Enforcement Team (MET).
Three Greenville residents; Vincent Stewart Johnson, Amy Nicole Terry and Gerald Wayne Johnson were still at large as of Tuesday afternoon.
Most of the subjects have been charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and distribution of crack cocaine. In addition, each of the defendants is charged with at least one substantive count of possession with intent to distribute cocaine base.
If convicted, Gerald Johnson faces a maximum sentence of from five to 40 years in prison. All others face a maximum sentence from 10 years to life in prison and a fine of several million dollars.
MET members and area law enforcement agencies involved in these arrests include City of Commerce, A&M-Commerce University Police, Greenville, Rockwall, Rowlett, Mesquite, and Hunt County Sheriff's Office.
Other members are the DEA; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; the Texas Department of Public Safety; Texas Army National Guard; the Dallas, Denison, Garland, Lewisville, Texas Police Departments; the Grayson County Sheriff's Offices; and the Hunt County District Attorney's Office.
The following is a list of the arrested subjects Monday: (All defendants are Greenville residents, unless otherwise noted)
Devon Mackenzie Allen, 19
Aaron Deron Anderson, 25
Chadwick Daray Heath, 37
Mark Anthony Johnson, 28
Dimeon Rashad Kelly, 22, of Mesquite
Icle Dunn Mapps, 33
George Marvin Thompson, 54
Brandon Laray Jackson, 21
The following is parts of a press release issued by by the US Attorney's Office and Northern District of Texas:
U.S. Attorney Jacks of the Northern District of Texas said, "This nine-month long Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation and today's successful take-down illustrate the value of combining the strengths, resources, and expertise of federal, state and local agencies to fight these drug trafficking networks. I applaud the hard work, innovation and teamwork these agencies exhibited to bring down this crack cocaine trafficking operation which has plagued the area for some time."
"This operation highlights our combined commitment to bring justice to those violent criminal drug trafficking operations that have plagued this region," said James L. Capra, Special Agent in Charge of the Dallas Field Division of the Drug Enforcement Administration. "This is a reminder that the cities, towns, and streets of Greenville and Commerce belong to the good citizens of this area, not to drug traffickers, and we will continue to enforce the rule of law to make these Texas communities safer."
An indictment is an accusation by a federal grand jury and a defendant is entitled to the presumption of innocence unless proven guilty. However, if convicted, each defendant, with the exception of Gerald Johnson, as mentioned above, faces a maximum statutory sentence of not less than 10 years and up to life in prison and a fine of several million dollars. In addition, each of the indictments includes a forfeiture allegation which would require any convicted defendant to forfeit to the U.S. any property or proceeds derived from his or her offense.
An additional 23 individuals were arrested on state charges.
Greenville Police Chief Harold Roseberry said, "Today marks a new day for many neighborhoods in Greenville that have been infiltrated by criminals and their drug trafficking. We would like to thank the Drug Enforcement Administration's Mobile Enforcement Team and the members of our local and state agencies that have given resources to this effort to increase the quality of life of our citizens. Though this day will be remembered as a successful fight against organized crime, it too will mark the day that many families will be filled with dismay and disappointment in the decisions that their family members have made. This investigation should send the message to criminals that the communities in Hunt County will not tolerate such illegal activity and that we will go to great lengths to seek those individuals out. We still have much work to do; investigations will continue."
Commerce Police Chief Kerry L. Crews said, "The combined efforts of the agencies involved in this investigation have made a tremendous impact on the trafficking of drugs in Hunt County, thus making our communities much safer. With the help of the DEA's Mobile Enforcement Team, drug dealers are being put behind bars."
"We certainly appreciate the hard work of the DEA, Greenville Police Department, and Commerce Police Department in this joint action," said Noble D. Walker, Jr., Hunt County District Attorney. "This was quite an operation by local and federal Officers in our continuing efforts to combat drug dealing in the community. As a result, several individuals have been arrested and will be facing criminal prosecution for their actions."
Assistant U.S. Attorney Jennifer Tourje is in charge of the prosecution.