Undercover sting nets several local arrests

BRAZORIA COUNTY, TX A source told Eyewitness News these suspects were all part of the same criminal gang. So far, 10 people are in custody at the Lake Jackson Police Department and more arrests are expected. It's the latest in a series of ongoing investigations targeting organized illegal drug rings in our area.

The roundup began at 6am Thursday. Federal, state and local authorities worked together to dismantle what they are calling a major drug trafficking organization in the Lake Jackson-Freeport area.

It's the culmination of a two-year long undercover joint investigation that included multiple law enforcement agencies from local police and DPS to the U.S. Attorney, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms as well as the Drug Enforcement Agency.

"Basically, we're targeting criminal organizations, gangs, trying to hit them where they live and breathe," said Bill Furay with the DEA. "Today, the results that you see are really due to the great investigative efforts from everybody involved. This is another blow directly to these organizations."

One by one the suspects, who authorities have identified as members or associates of this criminal enterprise, were brought to the Lake Jackson Police Department where investigators spent much of the day questioning them. Details of what these suspects are accused of doing and the alleged criminal enterprise they are involved with will be made public once the indictments are unsealed.

"It's so important that the different agencies have small pieces of the pie as far as the information goes, and we're able to craft that information together and give a big picture in order to really strike a blow and get an entire organization," said Furay.

The suspects arrested were indicted for trafficking in large quantities of cocaine and crack cocaine during the past two years. In addition to the arrests, undercover agents seized several vehicles during this morning's massive bust and brought them to police headquarters where they searched them.

While the alleged drug ring wasn't centered in Freeport, city officials call the bust a win for its citizens.

"We're happy that some of them are removed from Freeport and we think Freeport will be safer today because of it," said Freeport City Manager Jeff Pynes.

Charges will range from conspiracy to possession of a controlled substance with the intent to sell. The suspects are being processed at the Lake Jackson Police Department. They will then be taken to the Brazoria County Jail. All the suspects are expected to make their initial court appearances in federal court sometime on Friday.

At this point, it appears the suspects are not connected to the Mexican drug gangs.

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