The Palestine Herald, Palestine, Texas

Local Scene

January 15, 2014

Multi-agency drug effort leads to arrest of 18

20-month operation ends with arrest of 13; four suspects still at-large

PALESTINE —

The Anderson County Sheriff's Office, along with the Texas Department of Public Safety, the Palestine Police Department and the Anderson County District Attorney's Office announced the end of the 20-month long drug trafficking investigation today — culminating with the arrest of about 13 individuals this morning in Palestine.

During a press conference held Tuesday at the ACSO, Sheriff Greg Taylor reported that the effort began in May of 2012, when his office began working drug information on some individuals in the county.

“We made several traffic stops, started to build up intel and quickly discovered that it was bigger than we could do alone,” Taylor said. “So we enlisted the help of the Department of Public Safety and the ATF.

“There was some gun running and some narcotics being dealt that we needed some assistance with,” the sheriff added. “We also were dealing with some Mexican nationals, and so we knew we needed a little bit of help.”

This need prompted a collaborative effort between local, state and federal agencies, whose undercover agents and investigators were able to purchase narcotics and firearms from the individuals indicted.

“We believe that this group is responsible for a major amount of narcotic trafficking as well as gun trafficking here in our county and in the surrounding area,” the sheriff said.

Sealed indictments against 22 key members in the alleged drug trafficking organization were obtained by the office of District Attorney Doug Lowe on Jan. 2 from an Anderson County Grand Jury.

At approximately 6 a.m. Tuesday, the above mentioned agencies, along with DPS SWAT, SRT-1 and Texas Highway Patrol Troopers served warrants at locations within the city limits of Palestine — on South Street, on Hayes Street and “in other areas of the city,” Taylor reported.

“Some of these people were already in jail,” Taylor said Tuesday. “We have made about 13 arrests today, some that were just as we call casualties — they were with the persons we were looking for that had outstanding warrants.”

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