The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, in conjunction with local police departments and other agencies, arrested 30 individuals on felony charges of delivery of a controlled substance during a warrant roundup Tuesday, April 16.
At 9 a.m. Tuesday morning, the narcotics task force began serving 106 arrest warrants on 97 suspects. The warrants included four first-degree felony charges, 20 second-degree felony charges, 11 third-degree felony charges and 71 state jail felonies. Arrest warrants with bonds from $7,500 up to $100,000 were issued by Justices of the Peace Ken Dollinger and Nancy Beaulieu and covered virtually every community in Jefferson County, JCSO Deputy Rod Carroll said.
According to information provided by JCSO, the cases pertaining to the warrants issued were made in the past 12 months. The illegal drugs purchased during the undercover operation included marijuana, cocaine, methamphetamine, synthetic marijuana, ecstasy and PCP, in addition to illegally diverted pharmaceutical drugs, including Valium, Dilaudid, oxycodone, Lorcet, hydrocodone, morphine, codeine, and steroids. Chief Ron Hobbs said the drugs purchased in the undercover operation were bought with seized funds from narcotics arrests.
At 9 a.m., Captain Troy Tucker briefed officers readying to go out on the round-up operation. He distributed the warrants to the teams and said Air One, the police helicopter, would be in flight if needed for pursuit of anyone attempting to flee.
Carroll said he and the teams were ready for action. He said each team included one member of S.W.A.T. in case officers faced an unpredictable situation.
“This is what we train for,” Carroll said, “to go out there and make new friends.”
JCSO Deputy Eric Bowman, who has worked with the office for six years, participated in the roundup, driving one of the Chevrolet Tahoes used to transport arrestees to the county jail.
“We do this once a year,” Bowman said of the narcotics roundup. “It is great to have everyone here working together.”
Bowman said the 2012 roundup went down “without a hitch” and he expected the same this year.
While out executing the warrants Tuesday, Bowman and his team arrested four people on five felony warrants in Port Arthur. His team arrested 31-year-old Arturo Guerrero, 21-year-old Jerry McDaniel, 53-year-old Alan Trahan and 59-year-old Henry Como on charges of delivery of a controlled substance, Como having two warrants for two separate incidents.
While attempting to arrest McDaniel, Bowman and his team faced a complication. Officers surrounded the suspect’s residence where he lived with his mother. After knocking on the door and rapping on the house, law enforcement officers saw movement but McDaniel was not coming outside.
“Come on out and make this easy on yourself,” one officer called out to the suspect.
Eventually, the suspect’s mother told police he would come outside, and moments later the man emerged, his hands thrown up in surrender. He was arrested without further incident.
While inside the back of the police vehicle, Trahan wanted to know how he got there.
“Where was I supposed to have sold all these drugs for somebody?” Trahan asked.
Bowman replied, “I don’t know, but it would have been in the last year or so.”
He said it is best to delay arrests in undercover operations in order to protect confidential informants.
“Making undercover cases is a never-ending, important part of our mission,” Carroll stated in a news release. “Most of these defendants are street-level dealers. Several are mid-level distributors. It is important to remember that while in most cases, the amounts purchased by police are limited by the funds available, the majority of these drug dealers are active, everyday, ongoing threats to our community.”
Carroll said a 30 to 40 percent capture rate is normal for warrant round-ups.
“It’s amazing to me how quickly the word gets out in these communities,” Carroll commented. “Word travels fast, especially with social media, and they know a sweep is going on. They will call or post something on Facebook warning about the sweep.”
He said the Jefferson County Narcotics and Warrant Division would continue to follow up on leads in order to locate the wanted individuals still at large. He also wanted to thank the agencies assisting in the roundup including the U.S Marshal’s Service, the Jefferson County District Attorney’s Office, the police departments in Beaumont, Port Arthur, Nederland, Port Neches and Groves, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.
Sharon Brooks can be reached at (409) 832-1400, ext. 241, or by e-mail at sharon [at] theexaminer [dot] com.