Posted by Karin Slyker | email
LUBBOCK, TEXAS (KCBD) - Twenty-eight defendants, including sheriff deputies and members of a motorcycle gang that is a support club of the Bandidos Outlaw Motorcycle Gang (OMG), are charged in a 110-count federal indictment, returned earlier this week in Lubbock, Texas, for allegedly operating a major methamphetamine trafficking organization since January 2003 in west Texas, Arizona, and in the Modesto, California, area, announced James T. Jacks, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas.
Friday, federal, state and local law enforcement arrested 23 of those defendants. In addition, in the course of executing several search warrants, narcotics, drug trafficking paraphernalia, firearms, U.S. currency, financial records, and vehicles were seized. One defendant, Jamie Paul Nickell, appeared before the U.S. Magistrate Judge in Midland, Texas, on his charges. Gary Hegwood, Dennis Hegwood, David Russell were taken before a U.S. Magistrate Judge in Fresno, California. Gordon Clark Bohannon appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Nancy M. Koenig today in Lubbock. The remaining arrested defendants will appear before Judge Koenig, on Monday, July 13, for their initial appearance.
"Today's arrests, based on charges in the federal grand jury indictment, represent a concerted law enforcement effort to thoroughly investigate crimes that threaten the well-being of our community," said FBI Special Agent in Charge Robert E. Casey, Jr. "The FBI thanks its partners in this case - the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; the Texas Department of Public Safety; the U.S. Postal Inspection Service; U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Hockley County District Attorney's Office, and the Levelland Police Department, for working with us so closely. We are convinced that working together, we have disrupted a series of serious ongoing crimes that demanded a substantial investment of federal, state and local law enforcement expertise and resources." Mr. Casey continued, "It is particularly disappointing to all who conducted this investigation that two law enforcement officers were indicted by the grand jury and arrested on federal charges. The FBI's principal concern in this case is not only the safety and security of the law-abiding citizens of Hockley County, but that their trust and confidence in law enforcement is preserved."
Acting U.S. Attorney Jacks said, "This indictment, unsealed today, charges 28 defendants, including, sadly, two local law enforcement officers, with serious violations of federal law. Our fight against serious drug and gun crime becomes much more complicated when corrupt law enforcement officers, sworn to protect and serve, become involved in criminal activity; however, this office is committed to devoting whatever resources necessary to ferret out anyone who puts our communities' residents in danger, to bring them to justice and take their ill-gotten profits from illegal narcotics sales. I commend the team of federal, state and local law enforcement officers and investigators, who, along with prosecutors in this office, worked long and hard to put this case together."
Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives Special Agent in Charge Ronnie Carter stated, "This investigation demonstrates ATF's commitment to work with our law enforcement partners to combat violent crime involving firearms and to ensure the safety of the people in West Texas. The dismantling of criminal organization, such as this one, requires great determination and expertise by members of the law enforcement community."
According to the indictment, lead defendant Bobby Duwayne Froman, the founder of the Aces and Eights OMG, which was a support club of the Bandidos OMG, recruited other conspirators, often who were members of the Aces and Eights OMG, to transport cash to Modesto, California, to purchase large quantities of methamphetamine and then transport the methamphetamine to Levelland, Texas, for distribution. Levelland, located in Hockley County, Texas, is located approximately 30 miles west of Lubbock. As part of the conspiracy, Froman, the founder and then-President of the Aces and Eights OMG, partnered with Doyne Leroy Thuston, a Nomad member of the Bandidos OMG who is now deceased, and each contributed to the price of the methamphetamine that was purchased in Modesto and transported to Levelland. Once the methamphetamine was in Levelland, it was weighed, packaged for sale and divided between Froman and Thuston for distribution throughout the South Plains area of West Texas. The methamphetamine was sold for cash, firearms, conveyances, sexual favors and other commodities.
Several locations in Hockley and Lubbock Counties were used by some of the conspirators to hide, weigh, possess with intent to distribute, package for distribution and distribute methamphetamine. In addition, some of the conspirators, some of whom were methamphetamine users, addicts and felons, knowingly possessed firearms. Some of the conspirators stored and hid firearms for other conspirators, who were prohibited persons, in furtherance of drug trafficking crimes.
Two of the defendants, Gordon Clark Bohannon and Jose Jesus Quintanilla, deputies with the Hockley County Sheriff's Office, are alleged to have used their positions of trust in law enforcement to obtain sensitive law enforcement information that benefitted the conspirators, allowing them to protect the methamphetamine trafficking conspiracy, and deter legitimate law enforcement officers in investigating the conspiracy and bringing its members to justice.
The indictment charges each of the below-listed defendants with one count of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute 500 grams or more of cocaine. The indictment also charges various defendants with one or more of the following offenses: maintaining drug-involved premises; possession with intent to distribute 500 grams or more of methamphetamine; possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine; simple possession of methamphetamine; unlawful use of a communications facility; various firearms counts; and misprision of a felony.
Bobby Duwayne Froman, a/k/a "Quick, 54, of Levelland
Gordon Clark Bohannon, 53, of Levelland
Charity Bell Barron, a/k/a "Charity Bell Reeves, 35, of Lubbock
Jeffrey Paul Bayer, 53, of Levelland
Clifford Leroy Clark, 49, of Arizona
Earnest Gale Flowers, 56, of Lubbock
Sharon T. Froman, 59, of Levelland
Billy Charles Fuller, 52, of Lubbock
Bradley Gene Gore, 45, of Levelland
Danny Keith Gregory, 53, of Levelland
Jason Gutierrez, 26, of Lubbock
Dennis Carl Hegwood, 54, of California
Gary Duane Hegwood, 52, of California
Kimberly Hull, 24, of Levelland
Andrew Clay Hurst, 31, of Friona, Texas
Kenneth Wayne Johnson, a/k/a "Skeet," 55, of Levelland
Teddy Ralph Johnson, a/k/a "T.J.," 46, of Levelland
Stephanie Renee McKee, 25, of Friona
Keith Allen Miller, a/k/a "Crash," 62, of Lubbock
Jamie Paul Nickell, a/k/a "J.P.," 33, of Midland, Texas
Kristi Ann Quillen, 38, of Lubbock
Jose Jesus Quintanilla, 39, of Smyer, Texas
Hector Ramos, 47, of Lubbock
Perry Dean Roberson, 50, of Lubbock
David Lee Russell, 51, of California
Steven Allen Savell, 23, of Levelland
Tisha Janell Sparks, a/k/a "T.J.," 30, of Levelland
Marvin Lee Whittington, 46, of Lubbock
An indictment is an accusation by a federal grand jury and a defendant is entitled to the presumption of innocence unless proven guilty. However, if convicted on the conspiracy charge, each of the defendants faces a maximum statutory sentence of not less than 10 years and up to life in prison, a fine of up to $4,000,000, and a life term of supervised release. The indictment also includes a forfeiture allegation which would require some of the defendants, upon conviction, to forfeit five residences in Hockley and Lubbock Counties, 10 vehicles, currency, and approximately 35 various firearms.
The case is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Texas Department of Public Safety, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the United States Marshal Service, the United States Postal Inspection Service, the Hockley County District Attorney's Office, the Levelland Police Department, the Lubbock Police Department, and the Lubbock County Sheriff's Office.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys C. Richard Baker and Denise Williams, of the Lubbock, Texas, U.S. Attorney's Office, are prosecuting the case.
Source: Dept. of Justice