Twenty-five people arrested in Texas meth distribution operation
From the U.S. Attorney's Office San Antonio Division:
In the Waco area Friday, federal and state authorities arrested 21 Aryan Brotherhood (AB) members and associates, including ranking AB members 54-year-old Wayne Huisinger, of Belton, and 39-year-old Robert Eaton, of Kempner, Texas. They were arrested for their roles in a methamphetamine distribution operation announced United States Attorney Robert Pitman, Federal Bureau of Investigation Special Agent in Charge Christopher H. Combs, San Antonio Division, and Drug Enforcement Administration Special Agent in Charge Joseph M. Arabit, Houston Division.
A federal grand jury indictment, unsealed this afternoon, charges 20 of the 21 arrested, as well as four others who were already in custody prior to today, with one count of conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine. Robert Helms, 29, of Temple, TX, who was also arrested this morning, was charged today by a federal criminal complaint with possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute. Helms faces up to 20 years in federal prison upon conviction.
The indictment alleges that since November 2013, the defendants conspired to distribute various amounts of methamphetamine. During this 10-month-long operation, investigators conducted several controlled methamphetamine purchases. To date, authorities have seized approximately nine pounds of "crystal" methamphetamine, 15 firearms, over $9,000 in U.S. Currency and other assets in connection with this investigation.
"These charges resulted from unprecedented collaboration of federal, state, and local law enforcement targeting a large-scale prison gang involved in violent organized crime over three counties in Central Texas," said FBI Special Agent in Charge Christopher Combs. "This effort not only exemplifies our commitment to prevent gang violence and criminal activity from poisoning our communities, but it also sends a clear message that we will relentlessly pursue and prosecute the leaders and members of these violent criminal enterprises regardless of where they lay their heads."
"Operation 'La Flama Blanca' has inflicted a debilitating blow to the network of shadow and often violent facilitators of the Aryan Brotherhood of Texas," said Joseph M. Arabit, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration—Houston Field Division. "This operation highlights a deliberate and strategic effort to cut off and shut down the supply of methamphetamine trafficked by the Aryan Brotherhood and the corresponding impact that this horrific drug inflicts on our communities."
Upon conviction, the defendants face a statutory penalty of between ten years and life imprisonment for distributing more than 500 grams; between five and 40 years' imprisonment for distributing between 50 grams and 500 grams; or, up to 20 years' imprisonment for distributing less than 50 grams.
These charges and arrests resulted from a joint investigation conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Drug Enforcement Administration together with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), Temple Police Department, Texas Department of Public Safety, Texas Department of Criminal Justice-Office of Inspector General, McLennan County Sheriff's Office, Coryell County Sheriff's Office, Bell County Sheriff's Office, Gatesville Police Department, Lampasas Police Department, Killeen Police Department and the Austin Police Department. Assistant United States Attorneys Mark Frazier and Stephanie Smith-Burris are prosecuting this case on behalf of the Government.
An indictment is merely a charge and should not be considered as evidence of guilt. The defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.