LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - 17 people have been charged after a multi-agency drug bust Friday afternoon. Eight face federal charges and the other nine face state charges. Of the 17 arrested, four were already in custody and one is still on the loose and police need your help in finding him.
On the federal side, a 428-count indictment was unsealed Monday morning, charging eight area residents with various offenses related to their operation of a "smurfing" conspiracy. "Smurfing" is to make multiple purchases from multiple pharmacies, of small legal amounts of pseudoephedrine, a chemical used to manufacture meth.
Clandestine methamphetamine laboratory components and precursor chemicals, methamphetamine, pseudoephedrine and a short-barreled rifle were seized during the arrests.
The List of Charges
The following individuals are charged with one federal count of conspiracy to possess pseudoephedrine with the intent to manufacture meth and to manufacture, distribute and possess with intent to distribute 500 grams of more of meth.
In addition to the conspiracy charge, each defendant faces additional charges of possession of pseudoephedrine with intent to manufacture meth.
Gary Alan Jones faces 55 of those counts; Kathy Jolee Allen faces 78; Danny Jack Allen faces 11; Shannon Ailene Nolan faces 89; Dee Je Estep faces 34; Kelly Joann Spruiell faces 35; Lonnie Ray Warren faces 24, and Gordon Michael Rives faces 95. Each count of possession of pseudoephedrine with intent to manufacture meth carries a maximum statutory 20-year sentence. Rives is also charged with two counts of being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm, one count of manufacturing meth, one count of possession of firearms in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime and one count of possessing body armor by a violent felon.
Those arrested and charged on a state level have not yet been indicted by a Lubbock County Grand Jury; therefore, their names have not been released. Officials tell KCBD NewsChannel 11 that it could happen between Tuesday and next week.
The Smurfing Conspiracy
The indictment alleges that beginning in December 2008, the defendants would "smurf," a chemical used to manufacture meth. During the course of the conspiracy, the defendants possessed and distributed approximately 1033.46 grams of pseudoephedrine with the intent to manufacture 500 grams or more of meth. In addition, one or more of the defendants would acquire lithium batteries, anhydrous ammonia and other products used to manufacture meth.
The indictment further alleges that Gary Alan Jones would purchase pseudoephedrine and collect pseudoephedrine purchased by other "smurfers." He would also acquire anhydrous ammonia, lithium batteries, and other products used to manufacture meth, and provide those items to meth cooks. The conspirators would reimburse the "smurfers" for the pseudoephedrine and other products they purchased with cash, meth derived from the "cook" and by other means.
An indictment is an accusation by a federal grand jury and a defendant is entitled to the presumption of innocence unless proven guilty. However, each defendant faces a sentence of up to life in prison.
Searching for a Suspect
Officials need your help in locating Gary Alan Jones, 47, of Lubbock. Jones, is described as a white male with brown hair, blue eyes. He is 5' 10" tall and 210 pounds.
Jones is wanted for: Conspiracy to possess pseudoephedrine with intent to manufacture methamphetamine, conspiracy to manufacture, distribute and possess with intent to distribute 500 grams or more of methamphetamine, possession of pseudoephedrine with intent to manufacture methamphetamine.
Any information of this individual should be forwarded to the Texas Department of Public Safety at 806-472-2794.
KCBD NewsChannel 11 will continue to follow this story and will bring you the latest as it becomes available.
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