Crime

Stephenville-based meth ring busted, U.S. attorney says

Thirty-one people were in federal custody Friday after authorities raided what they described as the “Brittany Barron Drug Trafficking Organization,” a Stephenville-based ring accused of trafficking methamphetamine in rural North Texas counties.

Twenty people were arrested in a sweep on Thursday, and 11 were already in custody, according to a news release from the U.S. attorney’s office.

One person remained at large.

The news release did not name the people arrested.

It did name the law enforcement agencies involved. The roundup was led by the Drug Enforcement Administration and Stephenville police. Agencies that assisted were U.S. marshals, the Texas Department of Public Safety, Fort Worth and Weatherford police, four county sheriff’s departments and the Erath County district attorney’s office.

A federal complaint unsealed Friday accuses the 32 suspects of conspiracy to possess a controlled substance with intent to distribute.

The case began in December 2012 when DEA agents and Stephenville police began investigating methamphetamine trafficking and identified more than 100 people either distributing for or obtaining methamphetamine from the Barron organization, the news release said.

“Substantial amounts of drugs and cash were seized,” the news release said. The organization was “responsible for distributing hundreds of pounds of methamphetamine, primarily in rural Texas counties” including Erath, Parker, Palo Pinto, Comanche, Eastland, Stephens, Hood, Hamilton, Somervell and Taylor counties.

The federal statutory penalty for the charge is five to 40 years in prison and a $5 million fine. The U.S. attorney’s office has 30 days to present the cases to a grand jury, the news release said.

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