Two arrests in Orange County meth busts; officers say drugs coming from Mexico

Two arrests in Orange County meth busts; officers say drugs coming from Mexico

Sheriff’s deputies arrested a man on multiple charges, including possession of a controlled substance, after a search of the suspect’s residence turned up more than 30 grams of methamphetamine and other illegal items, reports the Orange County Sheriff’s Office.

According to a news release, deputies arrested 37-year-old Richard David Shock of Vidor after executing a search warrant at his residence in the 700 block of Coleman Street, just outside the city limits of Vidor in Orange County, on March 5 at about 12:20 a.m. During the search of the residence, deputies reportedly located 32 grams of methamphetamine, also known as “ice,” “crystal meth” or simply “meth,” a small amount of marijuana, a few illegally possessed prescription drugs, and an illegally modified .22 caliber rifle.

Shock was charged with possession of a controlled substance, a second-degree felony, possession of a controlled substance, a state jail felony, possession of marijuana, a class B misdemeanor, and possession of a firearm by a felon, a third-degree felony. He was taken to the Orange County Jail, and released later the same day on $34,500 bond, reports OCSO.

No stranger to deputies in Orange County, the same man was arrested less than a year ago, again on charges pertaining to meth and more.

During a traffic stop July 30, 2014, an OCSO deputy discovered a variety of illegal drugs in his vehicle after arresting Shock for driving without a valid license, the office reported in a news release.

According to the information released then, the deputy was patrolling Bertie Street in Orange County when he stopped a white 1998 Chevy truck for multiple traffic violations. The driver, identified as Shock, did not have a valid driver’s license. During an inventory of the vehicle prior to it being towed, the deputy reportedly located numerous controlled substances, including about 17 grams of methamphetamine, a second-degree felony. Other smaller amounts of drugs located in the vehicle included crack cocaine, Dilaudid, Xanax, Adderall, Hydrocodone, Klonopin and marijuana, OCSO reported. Those cases are currently pending with the Orange County District Attorney’s office.

According to a database search, Shock has a long criminal history spanning nearly a decade. In December 2004, he was reportedly arrested for property theft at the state-jail-felony level and pleaded guilty in exchange for two years probation. But information from the database indicates Shock could not stay out of trouble. He was arrested in May 2005 in Orange County for burglary of a building, another state jail felony. He pleaded guilty and again received probation, five years this time. In March 2006, he was arrested in Galveston for unauthorized use of a vehicle, a state jail felony. Two years later, in March 2008, Shock was arrested in Port Arthur for property theft, again a state jail felony. Convictions for those crimes collectively cost Shock more than a year behind bars in TDCJ facilities.

OCSO Chief Deputy Clint Hodgkinson said after Shock was caught with methamphetamine last year, and because the sheriff’s office has identified him as a person believed to be involved with the local drug trade, narcotics officers had been keeping a close watch over his activities.

“We were already investigating him and had arrested him before, so we had our eye on him,” Hodgkinson said of Shock. “We just kept an eye on him, and did our best to monitor what he had going on.”

In relation to Shock’s most recent arrest and the search warrant executed by Orange County deputies on March 5, Hodgkinson said, “We had enough evidence to get a probable cause affidavit to do a search warrant, so we were able to initiate it in the early morning hours.”

Hodgkinson said Shock is in a lot of trouble, and his criminal history would not be looked upon favorably by prosecutors.

“It’s almost twice as much meth as he had last time,” said the chief deputy. “It’s going to be looked at pretty harshly because it is a second-degree felony, plus he has a lot of other charges to contend with.”

Hodgkinson said narcotics officers from OCSO worked with narcotics officers from the Orange Police Department in executing the search warrant on Shock’s residence and, as a team, put someone they believe to be a criminal nuisance behind bars.

“He is part of the drug problem in Orange County,” Hodgkinson said.

Another arrest

Shock was not the only one in Orange County the team of law enforcers arrested during the course of overnight narcotics investigations. In fact, another Orange County resident was arrested only hours earlier while also allegedly in possession of a large quantity of methamphetamine.

Hodgkinson said that narcotics officers from OCSO and OPD saw 36-year-old Blake Owen Buxton of Orange at about 9:20 p.m. on March 4 and suspected he “might have had a part in some other narcotics activity” in the area. Then, the chief deputy reports, under the officers’ watchful gazes, Buxton violated multiple traffic laws, allowing investigators to initiate a traffic stop near Lakeview Cutoff Road and FM 1131 outside of Vidor, in the Pine Forest area.

“They were conducting a narcotics investigation, and they happened to see this guy commit some traffic violations, so they stopped him,” said Hodgkinson.

A deputy searched the vehicle and reportedly discovered a loaded handgun in the driver’s side door panel, and methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia inside the vehicle. According to the deputy, Buxton was in possession of more than 28 grams of methamphetamine.

He was placed under arrest and transported to the Orange County Jail, charged with possession of a controlled substance, a second-degree felony, and for unlawfully carrying a weapon, a Class A misdemeanor. He was arraigned March 5, and his bond was set at $17,200. He made bond and was released from custody the same day, reports OCSO.

Methamphetamine has long been the bane of Orange County, and narcotics investigators have been cracking down on the dangerous and deadly drug for years. In spite of some isolated instances in the county over the past couple of years, local law enforcers say that after federal and state legislation made over-the-counter products containing chemicals (like ephedrine, pseudoephedrine, and phenylpropanolamine) that the DEA reports are precursors for manufacturing methamphetamine harder to get and the manufacturers themselves easier to identify, since government-issued identification is required for purchasing said products, meth labs are much less common in the area than they once were. However, according to Orange County’s Chief Deputy Hodgkinson, fewer labs does not mean there is less methamphetamine available in the area, and often what is coming into Southeast Texas is more potent than ever.

“It’s seems like there is a lot of methamphetamine, and that’s primarily what we deal with,” Hodgkinson said pertaining to drugs in Orange County, adding that the drug is definitely not exclusive to the area, but rather all over the United States and often coming from across the border. “It’s everywhere. It’s probably the biggest problem everywhere. It’s so easily accessible and to make. Even though stuff may be illegal here, living in Texas, you can just go across the border and you can get every ingredient you need. Not only that, but you also have the stuff that comes from Mexico; they just make it over there and bring it across the border. A lot of the stuff we actually confiscate, we know it likely came from Mexico.

“We’re right here in Texas. We’re not far from the border, so a lot of that stuff just seeps this way. That’s why we probably have a problem with it in our area, mostly not from what’s made or manufactured here in our county, but what comes from other places.

“There’s a lot of different grades (of meth), but there’s probably higher grades coming from Mexico because of the access they have to the raw resources needed to make it. That’s why we don’t have a lot of labs anymore. A lot of these people are able to get their hands on this stuff coming out of Mexico, so they just sell it instead of having to go through all the trouble of having to make their own stuff or find the ingredients.”

Jefferson County DA’s office investigator Marcelo Molfino said he believes meth sellers are targeting affluent youth and even disguising the drug by hiding it within other drugs, like marijuana. He warns that users should avoid drugs because you cannot be certain what’s in them, and users could develop an unexpected addiction.

“There’s a meth epidemic that people are just not talking about,” said Molfino. “Around here, the age groups that are starting to use these drugs are just younger and younger. It’s scary. …

“These kids are thinking they are buying marijuana and there are shards of meth in it. They are getting a super high and going back for more. Then, they’re addicted. They think they are doing a low-grade drug that is not that addictive, but somebody has taken a very highly volatile and highly addictive drug that is dangerous and sprinkled it into that blunt that you bought or that marijuana cigarette that you’re smoking, and now you’re a meth head.”