Working as a team, the Bell County Organized Crime Unit and the Copperas Cove Police Department successfully ended a nine-month investigation into the distribution of controlled substances, which resulted in securing 45 indictments and the execution of 13 arrests.

According to a CCPD news release, the indictments were for offenses ranging from delivery of a controlled substance in penalty group 1, being less than 1 gram, to delivery of a controlled substance in penalty group 1 of more than 1 gram but less than 4 grams with the added enhancement of delivery of a controlled substance in a drug-free zone.

Of the four penalty groups recognized by the state and addressed in the Texas Health and Safety Code regarding drug offenses, group 1 covers the most serious, dangerous and addictive drugs. The range of punishments available to the judiciary following conviction are the most severe in penalty group one.

Punishment ranges are enhanced by amounts possessed and by previous felony convictions.

Methamphetamine, a penalty group 1 controlled substance, is the most prominent illegal narcotic in Coryell County. The reasons for this are myriad, beginning with the ease with which the ingredients can be obtained. Additionally, methamphetamine is easily manufactured. There also appears to be a wide market in Central Texas for the finished product. Apparently there are dopes willing to buy the dope.

While much of the methamphetamine is manufactured in Coryell and adjacent counties, the finished product is distributed throughout Central Texas and beyond; hence the teamwork by multiple agencies.

With 45 indictments and only 13 arrests, there will be 32 more arrests yielded from this multiagency effort if the evidence supports making the arrest.

CCPD spokesman Sgt. Martin Ruiz said the investigation is ongoing and additional arrests are expected to be made. It should be noted that none of those arrested have been convicted of the charged offense. They all will have their day in court.

  • Shiaann Simon was arrested by CCPD on Jan. 1 on suspicion of two counts of delivery of a controlled substance in penalty group 1/drug-free zone.
  • Tracey Oakley was arrested Jan. 1 by CCPD on suspicion of delivery of a controlled substance penalty group 1.
  • Travis Oakley was arrested Jan. 1 by CCPD on suspicion of delivery of a controlled substance penalty group 1/drug-free zone.
  • Robert Bruce was arrested Jan. 2 by Coryell County Sheriff’s Office on suspicion of two counts of delivery of a controlled substance penalty group 1/drug-free zone.
  • Shelby Forshee was arrested Jan. 4 by CCPD on suspicion of delivery of a controlled substance penalty group 1/drug-free zone.
  • Jonathan Honey was arrested by CCSO on two counts of suspicion of delivery of a controlled substance penalty group 1/drug-free zone and two counts of delivery of a controlled substance penalty group 1.
  • Walter Patzkowski was arrested Jan. 7 by CCPD on suspicion of two counts of delivery of a controlled substance penalty group 1.
  • Christopher Crago was arrested by CCPD Jan. 7 on suspicion of delivery of a controlled substance penalty group 1/drug-free zone.
  • Daniel Norton was arrested by CCPD Jan. 8 on suspicion of delivery of a controlled substance penalty group 1/drug-free zone and one count of possession of a controlled substance penalty group 1.
  • Jose Moreno was arrested Jan. 8 by CCPD on suspicion of delivery of a controlled substance penalty group 1.
  • Jason Norton was arrested Jan. 15 by Lampassas Sheriff’s Office on suspicion of two counts of delivery of a controlled substance penalty group 1/drug-free zone.
  • Ezekiel Sanders was arrested Jan. 17 by CCSO on suspicion of delivery of a controlled substance penalty group 1/drug-free zone.
  • Robert Cross was arrested Jan. 18 by CCPD on suspicion of two counts of delivery of a controlled substance penalty group 1/drug-free zone.

Cocaine smuggling conviction

The family that sways together stays together. No, not on the dance floor, but in the penitentiary. Do the crime, do the time.

A Gatesville mother and daughter face up to life in prison after being caught with over 80 pounds of cocaine as the daughter attempted to train her mother for a solo run.

Federal prosecutors said Feather Saldana, 65, and her daughter Shawna P. Johnson, 41, both of Gatesville, were convicted Feb. 11 in Laredo. A federal jury found both Gatesville women guilty of conspiring to import cocaine and importing cocaine.

Investigators said in December 2014, mother and daughter were in a vehicle that was searched at a border crossing, during which law officers found cocaine hidden in the gas tank and center console.

Several witnesses testified Johnson made successful narcotics crossings in the past.

Both women remain in federal custody pending sentencing.

With the advanced technology and training available to federal border officers, increasing numbers of drug and money smugglers are being caught in the act.

One must ask where Johnson’s previous loads were taken. I’m guessing some of it landed in Central Texas.

Theft/burglary

Seventeen thefts/burglaries were reported this week. This number is worrisome, as it seems to be the new normal. Owners locking their vehicles and stowing valuables can considerably reduce this number. Has Copperas Cove become the theft capitol of Central Texas, or are we just careless?

  • The theft of a video game system was reported Feb. 9 in the 1100 block of East Business U.S. Highway 190.
  • The theft of currency was reported Feb. 9 at a business in the 2600 block of East Business U.S. Highway 190.
  • A burglary of a vehicle was reported Feb. 7 in the 2900 block of Starlight Drive.
  • A theft of medication from a vehicle was reported Feb. 7 in the 2200 block of Terry Drive.
  • The theft of a wallet from a vehicle was reported Feb. 7 in the 500 block of Veterans Avenue.
  • A cooler, flashlight, mug and jewelry were reported stolen from a vehicle Feb. 7 in the 2100 block of Vernice Drive.
  • A radar detector was reported stolen from a vehicle Feb. 8 in the 2900 block of Starlight Drive.
  • A burglary of a vehicle was reported Feb. 12 in the 2900 block of Starlight Drive.
  • A burglary of a vehicle was reported Feb. 13 in the 2900 block of Starlight Drive. A radar detector valued at $500 was reported stolen.
  • The theft of checks from a residence was reported Feb. 8 in the 1000 block of Craig Street.
  • A theft of two firearms was reported Feb. 11 in the 200 block of Northern Dove Lane. Because these are firearms, these are felony thefts.
  • A burglary of a building was reported Feb. 11 in the 400 block of Cove Terrace.
  • The theft of a cellphone and iPad was reported Feb. 11 in the 400 block of South 25th Street.
  • A burglary of a vehicle was reported Feb. 7 in the 2900 block of Sunflower Trail.
  • The theft of cellphone valued at $600 was reported Feb. 12 in the 900 block of South 17th Street.
  • A theft was reported Feb. 13 in the 2000 block of Babb Street. A tailgate valued at $550 was reported stolen.
  • A cellphone valued at $600 was reported stolen Feb. 13 in the 900 block of South 17th Street.

Assaults

Nine assaults were reported this week, two of them involving family violence. One was a sexual assault. This number is appalling.

  • An assault with bodily injury was reported Feb. 9.
  • An assault with bodily injury/family violence was reported Feb. 9 in the 1200 block of East Business U.S. Highway 190.
  • An assault with bodily injury was reported Feb. 9.
  • An assault on a public servant and assault by contact were reported Feb. 9. This is a felony assault.
  • An assault with bodily injury/family violence was reported Feb. 7 in the 2500 block of East Business U.S. Highway 190.
  • An assault by contact was reported Feb. 11 in the 900 block of Courtney Lane.
  • An assault causing bodily injury was reported Feb. 12 in the 700 block of Sunny Avenue.
  • An assault with bodily injury was reported Feb. 12 in the 1800 block of Martin Luther King Jr. Drive.
  • A sexual assault was reported Feb. 12 in the 300 block of East Avenue E.

Other crimes

  • A report of online harassment/Internet impersonation, tampering/fabricating evidence and theft of a cellphone was made Feb. 9 in the 400 block of south 25th Street.
  • Fraudulent use/possession of identifying information was reported Feb. 7 in the 1200 block of Urbantke Court.
  • Criminal mischief with damage estimated at $1,575 was reported Feb. 8 in the 100 block of Wolfe Road.
  • A forgery of a government document and theft were reported Feb. 11 in the 200 block of Halstead Avenue.
  • A forgery of government document was reported Feb. 12 in the 600 block of South Main Street.
  • The forgery of a financial instrument was reported Feb. 11 in the 400 block of South Main Street.
  • Interference with child custody was reported Feb. 11 in the 1100 block of East Business U.S. Highway 190.

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