NACOGDOCHES COUNTY, TX (KTRE) - Investigators with the Nacogdoches County Sheriff's Office made seven felony drug arrests as a result of sting operations conducted in the county over the course of the past two days.
In one of the arrests, an NCSO deputy made a traffic stop on a Chevrolet pickup on Highway 59 North Wednesday evening. When the deputy went to talk to the driver, the deputy could smell the odor of burnt marijuana, and the driver admitted having previously smoked the drug, according to a press release.
After the deputy noticed that both of the men in the pickup were acting very nervous, the deputy got consent to search the pickup. During the search, the NCSO deputy allegedly found more than one pound of crystal methamphetamine inside the vehicle.
Jason Shinall, 45, of Joaquin, and Zachary Whitten, 21, of Grand Cain, La., were both arrested on a first-degree felony possession of a controlled substance charge.
"The street value of the methamphetamine is $47,600," the press release stated. "Sheriff investigators believed that the methamphetamine was destined for Joaquin, Texas."
According to a press release, the first arrest occurred Tuesday night. After conducting surveillance on a suspect that had allegedly been dealing in a high volume of meth, NCSO investigators spotted the suspect leaving a location in Nacogdoches County.
The investigators followed the suspect's vehicle through Nacogdoches, and they conducted a traffic stop on it near the intersection of Mound and Main streets.
"Investigators were able to obtain consent to search the motor vehicle which lead to the discovery of eight grams of crystal methamphetamine that was concealed inside stuffed animals. Investigators also recovered needles that were hidden with the methamphetamine," the press release stated.
Iwanna Shoptaugh, 52, was arrested at the scene and transported to the Nacogdoches County Jail. She was charged with second-degree felony possession of a controlled substance, and her bail was set at $15,000.
On Wednesday, NCSO investigators conducted a search warrant on a residence on Elizabeth Street. According to the press release, the investigators obtained the warrant after an ongoing investigation into the distribution of crack cocaine identified a location.
During a search of the residence, the investigators found one ounce of crack cocaine hidden inside the residence. In addition, crack cocaine was found concealed in a vehicle parked at the residence.
The investigators also found a handgun hidden underneath the couch where one of the suspects had been sitting, the press release stated. A small amount of marijuana, digital scales, and other drug paraphernalia were allegedly found at the scene as well.
Preston Powers, 37, Jerry Johnson, 50, and Brienca McGowen-Driver, 21, all of Nacogdoches, were all arrested at the scene and charged with first-degree felony manufacture or delivery of a controlled substance.
Acting on information from several ongoing narcotics investigations, NCSO investigators made contact with Michael Garrett at a Nacogdoches apartment complex. According to the press release, Garrett was found to be possession of one gram of meth.
Garrett was arrested at the scene and transported to the Nacogdoches County Jail. He was charged with state-jail felony possession of a controlled substance.