A Palestine man was sentenced to 20 years in prison Monday for his role in an Anderson County drug ring.
Jamie Cortez Clewis, 33, was one of the last drug dealers targeted in operation “All in the Family,” according to a news release from the Anderson County District Attorney’s Office. He was sentenced by Judge Bascom W. Bentley, III at the Anderson County Courthouse for engaging in organized crime.
“All in the Family” was a joint investigation and prosecution operation between the district attorney’s office and a number of other agencies, the release states. The investigation led to the 2010 arrest and conviction of Derrick Deon Hicks, 39, of Palestine and others who were distributing crack cocaine in Palestine.
Hicks headed the cocaine distribution network, which sold crack in the area from 2008 to 2010. He was sentenced to 180 months in federal prison in June 2011.
“The Hicks organization would purchase cocaine from the big dealers in Houston and the gulf coast and then bring the drugs to Palestine where the cocaine would be converted to crack, District Attorney Doug Lowe said in the release.
“Clewis was a mid-level dealer for Hicks and participated in the drug distribution network by converting powder cocaine to “crack cocaine,” Lowe said.
“His guilty plea and this 20-year substantial sentence is the result of a lot of hard work by local and federal law enforcement.”
Crack is made by mixing powdered cocaine with so-dium bicarbonate (baking soda), or another chemical, and cooking it in a microwave oven, the release states. It gets its name from the sound the cooking process creates.
“Sustained cooperative operations such as ‘All In The Family’ are expensive and sometimes don’t return immediate results,” Lowe said in the release. “Targeting the larger dealers gets the tree at its roots rather than just picking the fruit.”