NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - Over the course of eight days, investigators with the Nacogdoches County Sheriff's Office rounded up 12 suspects in an alleged organized crime ring that involved burglaries and drugs, recovered a large amount of methamphetamine, and recovered about $10,000 in stolen property.
According to a press release from the Nacogdoches County Sheriff's Office more arrests are pending as a result of the investigation.
"Narcotics and burglaries go hand in hand; twenty years ago, someone would steal for themselves and keep the property," Nacogdoches County Sheriff Jason Bridges said in a press release. "However, in changing times, the people are stealing to support a habit and lifestyle of narcotics usage."
The investigation started on April 2 when NCSO deputies started following up on a string of burglaries that have occurred in Nacogdoches County, Their primary focus was the more recent burglaries that occurred in the Melrose area.
"The investigation began with little or no leads," Bridges said in a press release. "Therefore, investigators began to put small pieces together from citizens' reports of suspicious activity.
Early on in the investigation, the NCSO detectives solved two burglaries that took place between County Roads 503 and 504 and obtained arrest warrants for Calvin Otis Jackson, 56, for burglary of a habitation, which is a second-degree felony. NCSO investigators recovered a television stolen from a residence inside the city limits.
In the process of attempting to locate a suspect from burglaries on CR 411 and CR 419, investigators located what Bridges described as "one of the largest methamphetamine laboratories in Nacogdoches County history."
When deputies executed the related search warrant on a residence on Press Road, they arrested two men at the scene for possession of a controlled substance. One of the men was also charged with having a prohibited weapon. A woman who lived at the house was later arrested for possession of a controlled substance and child endangerment.
After the investigation led to a stolen four-wheeler found inside the Nacogdoches city limits, the NCSO detectives started back-tracking the ATV's theft. That, in turn, led them to another Nacogdoches residence, where they arrested four more people for possession of a controlled substance after 5 grams of crystal meth was allegedly recovered at the house.
Arrested at the scene were Josh Allen, 24, Chase Whittington, 17, Brandon Sowell, 25, and Jasmin Lindsey, 20. All four suspects were charged with possession of a controlled substance, which is a second-degree felony. Whittington was also served with an arrest warrant for burglary of a building, which is a state-jail felony.
Acting on additional leads, the NCSO investigators obtained another search and arrest warrant and searched another house in Nacogdoches County. Jerry Stotts was arrested at the scene and charged with possession of a controlled substance after authorities allegedly found 8 grams of meth at the residence.
In the press release, Bridges commended his patrol division for recovering a stolen four-wheeler in the Swift community. A follow-up investigation resulted in the arrest of Quentin Bell, 28. According to the press release, an arrest warrant has also been issued for Justin Ferguson, 26, for engaging in organized criminal activity, which is a third-degree felony.
Leads from that case led NCSO investigators to solve two more burglaries, which occurred on CR 716. Anthony-Paul Fenton, 21, was arrested on two charges of burglary of a building. Authorities have also obtained arrest warrants for Ariana Cary, 17, Daniel Henson, 20, and Crista Cary, 17, for engaging in organized criminal activity.
While investigators were looking for another suspect in the Appleby burglaries, they recovered three stolen laptops, one of which was stolen from Mississippi. The press released stated that authorities are working to identify three more possible suspects in those cases.
"Throughout this whole investigation, the goal was to reach the main party involved for the thefts and to locate the people who had been selling the stolen property," Bridges said in the press release.
Bridges said investigators identified two main suspects for a majority of the burglaries and obtained arrest warrants for Rickey Spurr, 39, and Thomas Stroud, 28. They also got a probable cause search warrant for Spurr's residence in an "upscale neighborhood in the city of Nacogdoches."
When authorities searched Spurr's house, they allegedly found more stolen property, meth, and ammunition that had been stolen in another burglary. Spurr was charged with burglary, possession of a controlled substance, and engaging in organized criminal activity. Stroud was charged with theft between $1,500 and $20,000, which is a state-jail felony.
"All together, a total of three search warrants were issued this past week," Bridges said in the press release. "A total of 29 additional charges have been filed, and investigators are in the process of linking all the solved cases to each suspect."
Bridges said the Nacogdoches County District Attorney's Office has been working closely with the NCSO in working toward a possible organized criminal activity case.