11 in custody on drug trafficking charges

11 in custody on drug trafficking charges

U.S. Attorney John Malcolm Bales announced May 9 that 11 Jefferson County men are in custody following a lengthy investigation into drug trafficking involving the distribution of crack cocaine in the Eastern District of Texas.

According to a news release from the U.S Attorney's office, a combined task force of federal, state and local law enforcement agencies began executing federal arrest warrants on May 6 for defendants indicted following a ten-month investigation into the distribution of crack cocaine in Beaumont.

Just days before, on May 4, a federal grand jury returned a four-count indictment charging 13 individuals with federal drug and firearms violations. Of those, five defendants were arrested May 6 and are making initial appearances in court this week. 

Those recently arrested were Ashton Devon Randolph, 20; Christopher Dewayne Ooten, 38; Clifton Ray Freeman, 26; George Lewis, 59; and Kody Dwayne Ardoin, 21, all of Beaumont.

Of the 13 individuals indicted on May 4, six were already in custody, including Kerry Arsenio Ardoin, 25; Kristopher George Ardoin, 29; Michael Eugene Ardoin, 29; Patrick Alan Jackson, 27; Seth Deandre Turner, 27; and Terrance Ardoin, 31, all of Beaumont.

The remaining two defendants are being sought by law enforcement at this time.

According to the indictment, for over a decade the Ardoin family and others are alleged to have openly distributed crack cocaine from their home at 1107 Avenue A in Beaumont.

“The ‘crack house’ operated by and for these defendants is just what you might expect – a vortex of misery and lost dreams,” said Bales.  “The investigators working on this case have done an excellent job in building the necessary proof to hold the named defendants accountable for the damage that they have done to the community and to the sad and desperate customers who purchased the crack. We look forward to presenting the evidence in a court of law.”

If convicted of the drug conspiracy charges, the defendants face a minimum of 10 years and up to life in federal prison. If convicted of the firearms charges, the defendants face up to 20 years in federal prison. If convicted of the drug house charge, those defendants face up to 20 years in federal prison. 

This case is being investigated by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, and the Beaumont Police Department. The U.S. Marshals Service also assisted in the law enforcement activities. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Lesley A. Woods.

A grand jury indictment is not evidence of guilt.  All defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.