BURNET — A Burnet County Grand Jury handed down first-degree engaging in organized crime indictments against seven people charged in December for their alleged involvement in a methamphetamine ring that spread across several counties and transported the illicit drug in from Mexico.
On Feb. 4, the grand jury indicted Jeremy Joseph Childers, 36; Kimberly Ann Weston, 38; Joy Ashley Perez, 28; Timothy Steven Blackard, 44; Christopher Castillo, 41; Cindy Brinkley, 46; and Charles Newman Smith Jr., 53.
If convicted, the suspects face up to 99 years or life in prison.
The indictments come from a six-month law enforcement investigation that involved Burnet County, state and national officials.
On Dec. 4, 2013, Burnet County sheriff’s deputies, Burnet police officers, Bertram police officers, Texas Department of Public Safety officers and U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agents, along with other local agencies, initiated search and arrest warrants at a property in the Bertram area.
At the time, authorities announced the arrest of 15 people allegedly involved in the trafficking, storing and distribution of methamphetamines. The investigation lasted six months and spanned from Burnet County to the Mexican border.
Other arrests or individuals charged in the investigation have followed. Not everyone arrested during the initial raid was indicted, but Burnet County District Attorney Sonny McAfee said his office is still reviewing the cases, which could lead to more indictments.
Authorities said the methamphetamines seized during the investigation and allegedly sold by people involved came from Mexico. Officials said suspects at the Bertram residence were selling 4-5 pounds of the illegal drug each month during the course of the six-month investigation. Officers put the street value of the monthly amount at about $200,000.
Along with the December arrests, authorities seized more than 70 firearms, $10,000 in cash and more than 8,000 rounds of ammunition. The firearms included shotguns, rifles, handguns and at least one silencer. Officials also seized several pieces of body armor.
McAfee said the nature of the crime is bad enough, but adding the organized element makes it even worse.
“Anytime when people organize together to commit crimes, it affects the community, and we’re going to assist law enforcement in pursuing those offenders and prosecuting them,” the district attorney said.
Source: The Daily Tribune