TYLER, Texas – U.S. Attorney Joseph D. Brown announced today that seven individuals have been arrested and indicted as the result of a lengthy investigation into drug trafficking activities in the Eastern District of Texas.
Beginning in 2017, a combined task force of federal, state and local law enforcement began a multi-agency investigation into the trafficking of methamphetamine in and around Upshur County, Texas. During the course of the investigation, law enforcement agencies conducted numerous audio- and video-recorded controlled purchases of methamphetamine from suspects. Furthermore, law enforcement officers and agents executed search and arrest warrants, seizing additional quantities of methamphetamine and firearms.
This operation resulted in the arrests of Roger Dale Hall, 53; Denise Michelle Taylor, 35; Christopher Dewayne Bunn, 43; Shaun Dale Weeks, 43; Jessie Darwin Ezell, 37; Darrell Lynn Gage, Jr., 41; and Kenny Okeith Harris, 32, all of Gilmer, Texas.
The defendants were indicted by a federal grand jury on Dec. 13, 2018, and charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine. In addition, Weeks, Bunn, and Harris are charged with firearms offenses including felon in possession of a firearm and use, carrying, and possession of a firearm during and in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime. Hall, Taylor, Bunn, Weeks, Ezell, and Gage each have prior federal or state felony convictions relating to the possession and distribution of controlled substances. The defendants have appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Roy Payne. The indictment remained sealed by the court until Feb. 4, 2019, and after the final defendant, Roger Dale Hall, was arrested.
If convicted, the defendants could each face from five to 40 years in federal prison.
“These arrests have made a big impact on the supply of methamphetamine in this part of East Texas,” said U.S. Attorney Joe Brown. “The defendants were moving large amounts of drugs, and staying in the more rural areas to avoid detection. Credit really goes to the cooperation of several local, state, and federal agencies which worked together to take these people off the street.”
This case is being investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, the Texas Department of Public Safety, the Upshur County Sheriff’s Office, the Gregg County Sheriff’s Office, the Upshur County District Attorney’s Office, the Gregg County Organized Drug Enforcement (CODE) Unit, and the Gilmer Police Department. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Lucas Machicek.
An indictment or arrest is not evidence of guilt. All defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.