18 arrests in Anderson County meth ring

Published on Tuesday, 14 January 2014 15:01 - Written by

Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) today announced the conclusion of a 20-month narcotics and firearms trafficking investigation.  DPS Criminal Investigation Division agents, along with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Anderson County Sheriff’s Office, Anderson County District Attorney’s Office, Palestine Police Department, Texas Joint Counterdrug Task Force and the U.S. Attorney’s Office – completed a joint investigative operation which led to the indictment of 22 defendants, primarily in Anderson County. 

Sixteen defendants have been charged with engaging in organized criminal activity. The charge is a first-degree felony, punishable by a maximum sentence of 99 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000. Six defendants face federal charges of conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine/possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine, and possession of firearms.

The initial investigation began in May 2012 with information from the Anderson County Sheriff’s Office about a possible drug trafficking organization operating within AndersonCounty. This prompted a collaborative effort between local, state and federal agencies, whose undercover agents and investigators were able to purchase narcotics and firearms from the individuals indicted.  The case came to a conclusion with the identification and indictment of key members in the alleged drug trafficking organization.

Sealed indictments against these individuals were obtained by the office of Doug Lowe, Anderson County District Attorney on January 2, 2014 from an Anderson County Grand Jury.

This morning at approximately 6 a.m., the above mentioned agencies, along with DPS SWAT, SRT-1 and Texas Highway Patrol Troopers served warrants at two locations within the city limits of Palestine.  As a result of the warrant service, 18 individuals were taken into custody and investigators seized a pistol, methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia.


The following individuals were arrested and incarcerated at the Anderson County Jail:

Possession with Intent to Distribute Methamphetamine, Conspiracy to Distribute Methamphetamine and Possession of a Firearm While Illegally in the United States:

Juan Jesus Morales Gante, (AKA Chuy) 21

Possession with Intent to Distribute Methamphetamine, Conspiracy To Distribute Methamphetamine:

Marcela Morales Aguilar 38

Carrie Elizabeth Clark 32

Michael Lance Collins 35

Daniel Galacia 29

Hilario Escamila Gonzalez Sr 41

Engage in Organized Criminal Activity

Timothy Mark Bowling 51

Travis Brotherton 57

Holly Rene Miller 38

Bridget Anita Ferguson 33

Larry Lynn Mills 65

Gary Wayne Parker Jr 49

Amber Nicole Priehs 23

Linda Kay Marr Smith 53

Randall Keith Speed 30

Jerry Wayne Turner 47

Gilberto Estrada Vinaja 28

Jon Dee Brown 39

These remaining individuals have not been located, anyone with information on their whereabouts’ is asked to contact Anderson County Crime Stoppers at (903)729-8477:

Raul Hernandez Gomez 39

Bruce James Hogue 49

Brittney Estridge Hawthorne 25

Jennifer Nacole Finley 29