GALVESTON — Authorities on Tuesday arrested 14 people on felony drug charges after a long investigation into what police said is a growing cocaine and methamphetamine problem in Galveston.

The seven-month narcotics investigation resulted in 21 indictments, police said. Arrest warrants have been issued for five Galveston men who were not detained in a police sweep Tuesday, said Sgt. Rene Vela of the police department’s vice and narcotics division. One of the men was indicted on two separate drug charges.

The indictments follow an investigation that began in January with help from the Galveston County Sheriff’s Office Narcotics Division, Vela said. Using undercover officers, recording devices and video cameras, police conducted “controlled buys” from suspected drug dealers throughout the city, he said.

The arrests were not concentrated in one particular area, and most of the charges pertain to the delivery of cocaine, with two indictments issued for the distribution of methamphetamine.

Vela said it was the first time he’d seen indictments issued in Galveston for the distribution of methamphetamines, which he said was a sign the dangerous and highly addictive drug was becoming more widespread.

“We’ve seen one of these suspects go from dealing marijuana, to pills, to cocaine, to methamphetamines,” Vela said.

Some of the charged have gang affiliations or connections to drug traffickers in Mexico, where the vast majority of methamphetamine found in the U.S. is produced, he said.

Local police work with the Drug Enforcement Administration and federal authorities to try to stem the tide of methamphetamine coming into the country, and making an impact on the island requires lengthy undercover operations to get inside the “subculture” of suspected drug dealers, he said. 

The 21 indictments issued in Galveston have an impact on the distribution of drugs on the island, but police face an uphill battle, Vela said.

“It’s like trying to empty the ocean with a cup,” he said.

Police Chief Henry Porretto said officers are concerned about the spread of methamphetamine in particular, describing it as a “challenge we’re trying to keep from progressing.”

“We’re worried about it permeating the neighborhoods,” he said. “Once it becomes prolific in lower socio-economic neighborhoods, there will no longer be any demographic lines on where it is.”

The narcotics investigation in Galveston was conducted with assistance from the DEA, Galveston County District Attorney’s Office, U.S. Marshals Service and University of Texas Medical Branch Police Department, according to a statement from the department.

The indictments on the island follow a warrant sweep in Dickinson last week by the Galveston County Sheriff’s Office. About two dozen county residents face drug charges stemming from a yearlong undercover investigation at an area known as “The Yard” in Dickinson.

 

 


 

Arrested this week

Junius Shinette, 23

Bruce E. Dwyer, 50

Rochawn Davis, 39  

Matthew Lannholm, 32    

Jerrod R. Franklin, 25  

Lacy Victoria, 48  

Dmitri L. Davis, 24

Patrick Herrera, 26

Wesley Durant, 26       

Mary Morgan, 52    

Omar Lopez, 19

Kendal Applin, 25  

Edna Johnson, 47   

William H. Canada, 32   

Bruce E. Dwyer, 50 

 

Indicted

Jerrod E. Ross, 24                                      

Wequanjalo Kinchen, 42                    

Harold Dergin, 50                                      

Joshua Finister, 20                       

Christopher Hall, 29                                

Contact reporter Alex Macon at 409-683-5241 or alex.macon@galvnews.com.

(14) comments

Tanya Fabian

This is a terrible statement......
Police Chief Henry Porretto said officers are concerned about the spread of methamphetamine in particular, describing it as a “challenge we’re trying to keep from progressing.”

“We’re worried about it permeating the neighborhoods,” he said. “Once it becomes prolific in lower socio-economic neighborhoods, there will no longer be any demographic lines on where it is.”

At the same time, just about every person east of 61st , and north of stewart road knows about the crack heads all over the island, mostly from broadway and 21st to the seawall..
The police just figured it out....and you want more money....Are you joking.

Dwight Burns

Drugs in any socio-economic neighborhood is a bad thing.

As I read the Chief's statement, it reminds me of a scene from the "Godfather" movie, where the Bosses who wanted to enter into the drug biz said they would keep the sale of dope in the darker neighborhoods because after all, they considered them to be animals and losing their souls wasn't a big thing.

George Croix

And some people want to legalize dope.

Steve Fouga

I've heard people say they think marijuana should be legalized, but never cocaine, illicit prescription meds, or meth.

Kim Etheridge

Ralph Nader has built an entire political platform on the legalization of all drugs.

"On the war on drugs, Nader said that the United States should entirely decriminalize and move to regulate all drugs in the same way alcohol and tobacco are regulated."

http://tinyurl.com/lrgrckf

Steve Fouga

OK, I'll give you Ralph Nader. I meant anyone relevant.

George Croix

Legalize the gateway, and open it wide.
Don't worry, nothing else will go through....

It would seem that there are enough intoxicants and mind altering devices and substances as it is, without helping others get a stronger hold on more people.
But, that's just me, and I freely admit I absolutely despise dopers.....etc......

Carlos Ponce

If you legalize marijuana, the drug pushers will move on to something stronger to peddle, legalize that and they'll push something even stronger, etc. No good will come of this.

Steve Fouga

Well, Carlos, they already do that anyway. But don't worry, TX won't legalize marijuana in our lifetime. Probably not our kids' either.

It'll be interesting to watch what happens in the places that do legalize it.

George Croix

You need only look a short way north to Colorado...

Steve Fouga

I know. Hasn't been legal long enough to see long-term effects.

rah

Bring back gambling and let the Italians run it. I heard that there was not any crime on the streets back then.

rah

We need to legalize get off your butt, quit using foodstamps and get a job

Andy Aycoth

Put all thugs in jail !

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