By GREG RUSSELL
Register Staff Writer
Efforts to curb Cooke County’s illegal drug flow may never end, but they’ve had a sturdy effect on the problem.
“Our informants and even the users know they have us looking over their shoulder,” said Sheriff Terry Gilbert. “They know we’re in town.”
Gilbert recently released a summary of recent area drug busts, explaining that possibly the best result of the arrests has been word of mouth.
“Will we stop all of it? No,” he said Friday. “But the fact that the drug culture is talking about us is a positive sign.”
It’s commonly known that the county’s most serious problem drug is methamphetamine — available for around $100 a gram, an amount that may last a user anywhere from three days to a week.
“They would try to conserve,” Gilbert said, declaring meth “99 percent” of the most dangerous local drug racket. “And as we’ve always stated, there’s burglary and those problems because people are stealing our TVs and stereos so they can go sell it or trade it for meth.”
While cocaine, heroin and illicit prescription drugs haven’t vanished locally, the low cost of methamphetamine makes it ideal in the context of hard drug use. Gilbert also said “cooking,” or methamphetamine production, has slowed down in the area.
“Mexican meth has gotten so cheap and easy to come by that your everyday meth cook is not in operation like he used to be,” he said. “The cartels distribute to larger cities and they distribute to mid-sized cities and then it eventually trickles down to rural areas.”
Arrests lead to investigation of other suspects, which leads to their arrests. Gilbert said a drug bust can require anything from a few manhours to several weeks of investigation, when organized crime is involved.
But he added that Gainesville only has the most prevalent series of meth busts since, as the county seat, it has by far the highest population.
In most cases, Gainesville city law enforcement works closely with Gilbert’s drug enforcement unit, and so do other Cooke County cities.
“We always cooperate with them and they cooperate with us,” he said. “It’s a co-op.”
Gilbert detailed the following busts, conducted during the first two weeks of October:
• On Friday, Oct. 4, county officers executed a search and arrest warrant on a residence in the 700 block of Potter Street in Gainesville. Investigators arrested Marvin Leroy “Bubba” Green, 43, on a charge of manufacture/delivery of a controlled substance (more than one gram but less than four grams). Also arrested was Michelle Ellen Castle, 36, on a charge of possession of a controlled substance (less than one gram). The drug enforcement unit seized approximately 2.5 grams of methamphetamine with a street value of $250 along with scales, packaging materials and smoking paraphernalia.
• On Monday, Oct. 7, county officers interrupted a sale/delivery operation in the 13000 block of South Interstate 35 in Valley View. Gerald Ray White, 45, was arrested on a charge of manufacture and delivery of a controlled substance (an amount more than 4 grams and less than 200 grams). Investigators seized approximately 11 grams of methamphetamine with a street value of $1,100.
• On Tuesday, Oct. 8, officers conducted a traffic stop in the 900 block of West California Street in Gainesville. Stacy Hal Story, 55, was arrested on a charge of possession of a controlled substance (more than one gram and less than four grams). Investigators seized approximately 1.5 grams of methamphetamine with an estimated street value of $150, along with digital scales and a smoking pipe.
• On Friday, Oct. 11, county officers and Valley View Police Department officers interrupted a sale/delivery operation in teh 13000 block of South Interstate 35 in Valley View. Gary Allen Cummings, 45, and Jacob Michael Bowden, 35, were arrested on a charge of manufacture/delivery of a controlled substance (more than 4 grams and less than 200). Investigators seized approximately 46.5 grams of methamphetamine with an approximate value of $4,600.00 and a 2006 Jeep, along with digital scales and packaging materials used in drug sales.
• On Tuesday, Oct. 16, Cooke County Sheriff's Office Drug Enforcement Unit investigators presented for four local suspects for indictment to the Cooke County Grand Jury. The suspects were allegedly involved with a larger organized group and were engaged in the distribution of methamphetamine in and around Cooke County. The next day, the Cooke County Grand Jury returned indictments on the following: Leslie Dawn Branch, white female, age 42; Donald Leroy Cosgrove, white male, age 41; Bryson Dale Nance, white male, age 25; and Christopher Crenshaw, black male, age 29. All were indicted for the first-degree felony offense of engaging in organized criminal activity and manufacture/delivery of a controlled substance (penalty group one).