HESPERIA, Calif. — On Thursday, March 15, 2018, federal, state and local authorities arrested eleven individuals in connection with a crystal methamphetamine trafficking operation in the Waco area, officials announced.
A federal grand jury this week returned two related indictments charging those individuals, as well as four individuals who were previously arrested, with one count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute more than 500 grams of methamphetamine. The defendants include Darris Thompson, who was the ringleader of the trafficking operation. Below is a complete list of defendants.
The indictments allege that since at least October 2016, the defendants have been responsible for a crystal methamphetamine supply network based in Hesperia, California, and a methamphetamine distribution network based in Waco.
During this investigation, authorities seized over 26 pounds of crystal methamphetamine, over 330 pounds of marijuana, and approximately 1,000 tabs of Xanax.
Given the drug quantity charged, if the defendants are convicted they will be subject to significant sentencing ranges–between ten years and life in federal prison for some defendants, and between five years and 40 years for others. All but two of the defendants will remain in federal custody pending detention hearings anticipated for next week in Waco.
These indictments resulted from an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation conducted by the McLennan County Sheriff’s Office, the Texas Department of Public Safety Criminal Investigation Division, the Waco Police Department, the Waco office of the DEA, and the United States Marshals Service. In addition, the Ft. Worth and Riverside offices of the DEA and the Riverside Sheriff’s Office provided valuable assistance with this investigation. Assistant United States Attorney Stephanie Smith-Burris is prosecuting this case on behalf of the Government.
The principal mission of the OCDETF program is to identify, disrupt and dismantle the most serious drug trafficking, weapons trafficking and money laundering operations, and those primarily responsible for the nation’s illegal drug supply.
It is important to note that an indictment is merely a charge and should not be considered as evidence of guilt. The defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.
U.S. v. Thompson, et al. (W18cr093) defendants
Name Age Residence Statutory Max. Penalty
*Darris Kinita Thompson (aka “Piru”) 41 Waco, TX 10 years to life imprisonment
*Sedric Barshea Thompson 49 Waco 10 years to life imprisonment
*Meagan Anaise Keel 32 Waco 10 years to life imprisonment
*Christopher Derric Blount 46 Waco 5 – 40 years imprisonment
*Darrell Wayne Moore 50 Waco 5 – 40 years imprisonment
*Ulis Howard Alexander 27 Waco 10 years to life imprisonment
*Chelsea Laine Early Graves 30 Waco 5 – 40 years imprisonment
*Lamont Alexander Taylor 41 Waco 5 – 40 years imprisonment
*Ruby Clara Williams 55 Waco 5 – 40 years imprisonment
*Joe Angel Gayton 27 Waco 10 years to life imprisonment
*Johnny Perez, Jr. 38 Wichita Falls, TX 10 years to life imprisonment
U.S. v. Casillas, et al. (W18cr072) defendants
Name Age Residence Arrested Statutory Max. Penalty
*Johnny Casillas 36 Waco 2.28.18 10 years to life imprisonment
**Francisco Resendiz-Martinez 25 Hesperia, CA 3.1.18 10 years to life imprisonment
*Patricia Ferrer 53 Hesperia, CA 2.28.18 10 years to life imprisonment
**Veronica Barraza Real 40 Hesperia, CA 3.1.18 10 years to life imprisonment
* Remains in federal custody
**Resendiz-Martinez and Real are currently on bond–$100,000 and $50,000, respectively.