|Trinity Standard - Local News
Copyright 2011 - Polk County Publishing Company
Drug sting lands two in jail
Trinity Standard -
TRINITY – With help from the U.S. Marshal’s service, Trinity police set up a drug sting at a local motel and arrested two suspects Saturday. Robert Corley, 26, of Trinity and Earl Ware, 35, of Fort Worth were arrested separately on felony delivery of controlled substance charges. Each was alleged to have sold crack cocaine valued at $200 during the undercover police operation. In addition to the federal marshals, Trinity Police Chief Steve Jones said his department was assisted by the Pct. 1 Constable Woody Wallace’s office and District Attorney Investigator Travis Haygood. During the operation, officers obtained rooms in a local motel and tried to contact 12 suspected dealers in an attempt to purchase illegal drugs. “We weren’t able to contact all 12 of the subjects that we wanted but we got a hold of several of them by phone. We managed to get two in custody before the word spread,” Jones said. He noted that because Trinity is a small community and because of the extensive use of cell phones, officers knew that once they started to make arrests, those in the local drug community would quickly realize what was going on. Jones noted Corley’s arrest came after a drug transaction that occurred in the motel room, however the second arrest occurred on Highway 19 near the motel. He said the second suspect was reluctant to approach the motel because of security cameras on the property so the deal was arranged to go down near the intersection of Highway 19 and Tatum Street. After two $100 bills were exchanged for the drugs, Jones said Trinity Police Officer John Archer, who was stationed nearby in a marked police vehicle, was called into action and arrested Ware. Jones said the suspect is believed to have swallowed the money as Archer approached him. “Drug dealers know that in a police sting, we record the serial numbers of the bills that are used and we believe he swallowed the money to keep us from being able to identify them,” Jones said. Ware was taken to East Texas Medical Center-Trinity for evaluation but police learned that it would take a surgical procedure to retrieve the two $100 bills. “We thought about having his stomach pumped, but the doctor didn’t think that would work. When we found out it would require a surgical procedure, we decided not to proceed,” he added. Jones said the doctor indicated that because currency is basically made of cotton, the bills would be digested inside the stomach. “Even though we didn’t get all 12 doesn’t mean were are going to give up. We plan to continue to aggressively seek out those dealing drugs in the community,” he said. He noted that in addition to the two arrests, the drug sting had an additional benefit in that it “sent shock waves” through the drug community. Never before have local police used this tactic to go after dealers in Trinity. “I’ve had this idea of conducting an operation like this for some time, but didn’t have the resources available until now,” Jones said, He noted that Haygood is a member of a U.S. Marshal’s task force that just a week earlier was involved in a fugitive round-up in the region. It was Haygood who was able to secure the assistance of the federal officers in the local operation. Jones warned that in coming weeks, police will continue to seek the 10 suspected drug dealers that were not caught Saturday as well as those who are giving them support. “The drug dealers should know that if they’re selling drugs and they have friends and family around them while they’re doing it, those friends and family also could be arrested and charged,” Jones warned. Drug warrant leads to six arrests A week earlier, U.S. Marshals assisted Trinity police in the service of a drug warrant that resulted in the arrest of a wanted drug suspect and five others at a Trinity residence. Arrested during that operation on Friday, Aug. 26, were Robert “Maine” Houston Jr., 26, of Trinity; Brandon Bush, 22, of Trinity; Christopher Booker, 27, of Houston; Michael Byerly, 19, of Trinity; Charles Ruffin, 22, of Butler, Ala.; and Eddie Coleman, 23, of Houston. All six were arrested on the state jail felony charge of possession of a controlled substance. Houston also was taken into custody on four warrants charging him with possession and delivery of controlled substances. Coleman also was held on a Montgomery County bond violation warrant. Five of the six were subsequently released on bond. Each posted a $10,000 bond on the possession charge stemming from the Aug. 26 raid. In addition, Houston posted another $8,000 bond on the delivery charge. Coleman was the only suspect who was not released on bond and was transferred into the custody of the Trinity County Sheriff’s Department. Houston has since pled guilty to two counts of delivery of controlled substances that were filed in March by Trinity police and the Trinity County Sheriff’s Department as well as on two counts of possession of controlled substance filed in December 2010 by the Pct. 1 Constable’s Office. He received 10 years probation on the two possession charges as well as a $1,000 fine and 240 hours of community service. He also received two-year probated sentences on each of the delivery charges. The possession charged filed in connection with his Aug. 26 arrest was still pending. Jones said he had been asked to help the federal marshals with two arrests of fugitives on Friday, Aug. 26 and when that operation was completed, the marshals helped him serve arrest warrants that resulted from recent Trinity County grand jury indictments. Jones said his officers, the marshals and Pct. 1 Deputy Constable Ricky Hope began searching for the suspects, going to several residences where they thought the wanted men might be located. “At the second house, Deputy Constable Hope got permission to look in an old trailer located off Ida Mae Street,” Jones said. Inside he spotted a generator still in its shipping box along with a number of power tools. The officers then went to a third residence located on Davis Street and when they entered to serve Houston with an arrest warrant, they found him with five other men. During the course of Houston’s arrest on the grand jury indictment, officers found a plastic bag with a small amount of cocaine in it as well as a shotgun and a set of scales with cocaine residue on it. All six men in the house were then arrested on the possession charges. During the raid, one of the marshals spotted one suspect tear open a bag and attempt to flush it down a toilet. The bag and its contents were later retrieved. Jones said the contents were identified as “turkey dope,” which is soap or wax cut up to resemble crack cocaine. “Dealers will pass off the turkey dope as rocks of crack to the users,” Jones said. “Once they make the money exchange, they’ll say something like, ‘Look out, there’s a police car coming.’ The dealer and user will then take off running in opposite directions so when the user finds out what he actually bought, he can’t do anything about it.” After the arrests, Pct. 1 Constable Woody Wallace joined the team of officers. When Hope told him about finding the generator in its shipping box, Wallace realized it was one that had been reported stolen. It had been purchased at a Trinity County Crime Stoppers fundraiser and stolen before its owner could unpack it. The officers returned to the vacant mobile home off Ida Mae Street and could find no one who would claim ownership of the contents of the trailer. Once the generator was confirmed to be the same one that was reported stolen, officers seized it and a number of powers tools and electronic equipment, all of which are believed to have been stolen. Jones said investigators believe that the items were stolen and then traded to dealers for crack or other drugs.