Eleven Huntsville-area residents have been arrested and three more are wanted by federal authorities in a major drug and weapons bust after a two-year investigation.
The following arrests Thursday were part of "Operation Pineywoods" came from indictments returned by a grand jury last month:
Jeramy Jerome Gage, 31
Mark Wayne Wheeler, 42
Annie Mae Ball, 54
Jeffrey Ray Johnson, 26
Lawrence Perry, 33
Ramola Kaye Brown, 30
Samira Mailka Bonds, 33
Kenneth Ray O’Bryant, 30
Michael Andrew Williams, 23
Lloyd Glen O’Bryant, 33
Gregory McFadden, 31
Those still wanted are Herratio Hans Hedspetch, 39, Dennis Rogers Haynes, 53, and Scotty Porter, 24.
Click image on right for pictures of the wanted men.
During a press conference Thursday, authorities said, in all, 33 arrest warrants were issued in connection with the crimes, and 23 total arrests were made. Some are not facing federal charges.
The conspiracy alleged by authorities ran for ten years, and involved drugs from South Texas being brought north. More than 30 kilograms each of cocaine and marijuana have been seized.
Gage, Wheeler, Ball, Johnson, Perry and Brown are accused of conspiring to get and sell five or more kilograms of cocaine and more than 50 kilograms of marijuana since last year. Wheeler had a charge of illegally possessing a weapon tacked on.
Authorities say the two O'Bryants, Williams, McFadden, Hedspetch, Haynes and Porter conspired to get and sell five or more kilograms of cocaine since early 2011 in a separate but related indictment.
Each person faces ten years to life in prison and a $10 million fine. The federal government also will seek $500,000 in the first indictment and $200,000 in the second.
Anyone with information on the three fugitives still being sought, contact the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives at (281) 716-8230 or the Drug Enforcement Administration at (713) 693-3000.
During the press conference, it was noted that Walker County Sheriff's and Huntsville Police's investigators originally started looking into the conspiracy, but when they realized it was much larger than they first thought, federal authorities were brought in. Connections to Dallas and Houston were noted.
According to a press release, the arrests were made as a result of an "Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force investigation led by the ATF, DEA, Texas Department of Public Safety, Walker County Sheriff’s Office, Huntsville Police Department, Madison County District Attorney’s Office and the United States Marshals Service with the assistance of Houston Police Department, the sheriff’s departments in Montgomery and Harris Counties, the Texas Department of Criminal Justice – Office of Inspector General as well as the Madison and Walker County District Attorney’s Offices."