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Friday, March 26, 1999

Brownwood--

Drug bust leads to 41 arrests

By ROY A. JONES II and PIXIE RAMBO

Staff Writers

BROWNWOOD — The second major drug sweep in the region in four days resulted in 24 more people being arrested Thursday on federal and state narcotics trafficking charges.

Arrest warrants were issued here for 41 individuals who are charged with the distribution of crack cocaine in Brown County and the surrounding area.

Dozens of law enforcement officers from nine state and federal agencies rounded up the suspects as part of the Drug Enforcement Administration-led effort called Operation Big Horn. More arrests are expected today.

The two dozen arrests Thursday came on the heels of the largest drug sweep in nearby Coleman County in at least 23 years. Ten persons were arrested there Monday and Tuesday on 17 sealed indictments returned by a state district court grand jury in Coleman.

Nineteen persons were arrested here on federal charges of conspiracy, distribution of an illegal drug and distribution of an illegal drug within 1,000 feet of a playground. All gave Brownwood addresses except three.

Arrested were:

Kip Eugene Abraham, 27; Frank Hathaway Banks, 40; Richard James Banks, 45; Paul Edgar Bocknite, 39; Danny Maurice Brown, 47; Edward Clarence Clifton, 37; Willie James Coleman, 36; Shernon Madison Coleman, 33, of Belton;

Also, Phillip David Gomez, 28; Richard Odgen Hester, 37; Ceasar Rodell Jeffery, 42; Waymon Earl Middlebrook, 42; Arthur Lee Organ, 34; Allen Jimmy Reed III, 38; James Bernard Slaughter, 28, of Bastrop; Joe Riley Slaughter, 43; Vel Charles Slaughter, 27, of Bastrop; and Anthony Jerome Pollard, 23, of Brownwood.

The 19 people arrested on federal charges were flown Thursday night to Lubbock, where they will appear before a federal magistrate who will set their bonds.

Arrested on state charges and booked into Brown County Jail were:

Jennifer Clark, age and address unknown; Martin Earl Horrell, 29, of Rising Star; Doyle Wayne McLeroy Jr., 29; Christopher Dean Riggins, 26; and Rose Marie Schreiner, 32, all of Brownwood.

An agent said undercover agents paid about $30,000 for the drugs they purchased during the operation.

About 340 grams of crack cocaine were seized in the operation, according to a news release attributed to Brownwood Police Chief Virgil Cowin, Brown County Sheriff Glenn Smith; Billy Schat, commander of the West Central Texas Interlocal Crime Task Force; Brown County District Attorney Lee Haney, Paul Villaescusa of the DEA and Barbara Nichol of the U.S. Attorney’s office.

Cowin said DEA agents, Task Force agents and local officers had worked undercover since October.

Frank Seibu of the Dallas Field Division of the DEA said, “This will definitely have an impact on the drug trade in Brownwood.” U.S. Attorney Paul E. Coggins praised the cooperation of the agencies involved.

Agents fanned out and arrested all the suspects in less than two hours. Agencies participating were the Brownwood, Early and Bangs police departments, Brown County Sheriff’s Department, Texas Narcotics Control Program Covert Operations Response Team; Capital Area Narcotics Task Force, Texas Department of Public Safety, Texas Rangers, U.S. Marshal’s office and the U.S. Justice Department, including DEA agents from the Lubbock, Austin, Corpus Christ, Fort Worth, and Dallas offices, and a DEA aviation unit. The Texas National Guard’s Camp Bowie Training Center provided facilities to support the operation, Cowin said.

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