Eight alleged gang members were arrested in a large-scale takedown last Thursday, charged with gun and drug crimes following an investigation led by the DEA Dallas Division, announced U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas Erin Nealy Cox.
“357 Crips” gang members Dwight Alexander Frank, Paul Adron Freeman, Vernon Ray Stiff, Calvin James Thomas, Tyrel Demond Washington, Bernice Lee Woodson, Jr., Bryson Busby, and Michael McCoy were arrested Thursday and charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine.
Four non-gang members – Alonzo Perez, Jr., Alonzo Perez, Sr., Beatriz Perez, and Max Davis – were also arrested and charged with related drug crimes.
The takedown, led by the DEA, began in the early morning hours Thursday, and stretched into the afternoon. The majority of the defendants were arrested at trap houses across the DFW metroplex, where agents seized roughly 2.5 kilograms of cocaine, 24 guns, and more than $300,000 in cash. (To date, the investigation has netted a total of approximately 7 kilos of cocaine, various other drugs, 37 firearms, and more than $500,000 in cash.
“There should never be any doubt that drug trafficking is a victimless crime. These gang members sought to profit and expand their influence by peddling drugs throughout South Dallas. With the dismantlement of this organization, guns are no longer in the hands of these drug dealers and the drugs they sold are now off the streets. It was only through a tremendous partnership with the Dallas PD, the ATF, and many other area law enforcement agencies that Dallas is safer today than it was yesterday,” said DEA Special Agent in Charge Eduardo A. Chavez.
“We are grateful to the many law enforcement partners who collaborated to disrupt a drug trafficking ring,” said U.S. Attorney Erin Nealy Cox. “Cocaine continues to wreaked havoc on our community and we will vigorously prosecute those that distribute this deadly drug.”
In addition to the conspiracy count, Mr. Woodson was charged with one count of possession with intent to distribute.
Ms. Perez, Jr., Mr. Stiff, Mr. Washington, and Mr. Woodson were also charged with maintaining drug-involved premises, as was Mr. Perez Jr.’s father.
Mr. Perez, Jr., Mr. Washington, and Mr. Woodson were also charged with being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm. Mr. Woodson was charged with possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.
Charges are merely allegations of criminal conduct, not evidence. The defendants are presumed innocent unless proven guilty in a court of law.
If convicted, the defendants face 10 years to life in prison on the conspiracy charge. Those charged with maintaining a drug involved premises face an additional 20 years; those charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm face an additional 10 years; and those charged with possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime face an additional five years.
The Drug Enforcement Administration’s Dallas Field Division conducted the investigation with assistance of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives’ Dallas Field Division, the Dallas Police Department, Rockwall Police Department, Rockwall County Sheriff’s Office, Flower Mound Police Department, Farmer’s Branch Police Department, Garland Police Department, Hunt County Sheriff’s Office, Denton Police Department, Dallas County Sheriff’s Office, Grand Prairie Police Department, and Plano Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney Suzanna Etessam is prosecuting the case.