When federal marshals executed a warrant seeking a fugitive in Aransas County, neither they nor Sheriff’s Office deputies knew it would lead to the taking down of a a meth lab and the arrest of three individuals. That is what occurred, however, Thursday, Feb. 10, according to information from Aransas County Investigator Armando Chapa.
He reported U.S. marshals arrived at a home at 104 Portia at about 10 a.m. They were seeking to arrest an individual on an outstanding federal warrant. When the home’s occupants opened the door, marshals saw bottles of rock salt and chemicals which are known to be used to make meth.
They called the Aransas County Sheriff’s Office (ACSO), and investigators arrived to assess and secure the scene. A warrant also was obtained by Investigator Rodney Cox to search the residence.
What ACSO officials discovered were chemicals for making methamphetamine, cookers and filters. The lab was set up in a motor home located behind the main house on Portia.
Individuals who were arrested, and their charges, are: Jason Lewis Cisco, 31, of Fulton, possession of controlled substance, possession of chemicals with intent to manufacture methamphetamine; Ryan Lee Roberts, 26, of Rockport, possession of chemicals with intent to manufacture methamphetamine; and Gregory Scott Covey, 39, of Rockport, possession of chemicals with intent to manufacture methamphetamine. The latter individual also was wanted on a warrant out of Harrison County for unauthorized use of a motor vehicle.
Another individual, Justin Andrew McLeish, 26, was arrested for an outstanding warrant on a motion to revoke out of Nueces County.
ACSO officials called the Drug Enforcement Agency, which then called the Department of Public Safety (DPS) Narcotics Lab to process and take down the meth lab.
Chapa said Thursday’s case was not the only drug-related one they processed this week.
Tuesday, Feb. 8
On Tuesday, Feb. 8, ACSO investigators executed a warrant at about 7:30 p.m. at 508 S. Doughty, based on information narcotics were being stored at the home. Chapa pointed out this is the fourth or fifth warrant executed at that residence over the last two years.
Alan Sessions, 26, of Rockport was arrested and charged with manufacture and delivery of a controlled substance of more than one gram, but less than four grams.
Officers also seized paraphernalia, and packing material.
Chapa explained there are a lot of problems with individuals using pit bulls and other aggressive dogs to alert owners when someone is nearing the home. In this case, a dog was situated just inside the door officers were entering. The animal attempted to attack and was shot and killed.
Monday, Feb. 7
A traffic stop early in the week resulted in the arrest of a 57-year-old woman.
Chapa said a traffic stop was made at about 2 p.m. Monday, Feb. 7 in the 500 block of South Young Street.
The female passenger began acting strangely, and after interviewing the subject it was discovered she was carrying two baggies of crack cocaine on her person. Chapa also seized $530 in cash, most of which was in $20 increments.
Sharon Ann Smith, 57, of Rockport was arrested and charged with manufacture or delivery of a controlled substance, more than four grams, but less than 200 grams.
Chapa pointed out there is a very big problem with drugs in Aransas County mainly with the distribution of heroin and cocaine, and now meth labs.
He said since Sheriff Bill Mills has been in office, he has put a lot of emphasis on combatting this problem. Investigators are working hard, and although at times are stretched to the limit, they are doing all they can to follow leads and get the situation under control.
This week’s arrests are not the only ones this year.
Wednesday, Feb. 2
Another traffic stop last week resulted in the arrest of two individuals and the confiscation of a vehicle as well as drug paraphernalia.
Chapa said he stopped a Ford Explorer on East Market Street at about 7 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 2 for a traffic issue. The female passenger jumped out and began crying and screaming, he said.
It was later discovered she was carrying glassware in her pocket which is used to smoke meth. Chemicals used to manufacture the drug also were found in the vehicle.
Donna Jean Gollihar, 42, of Rockport, was arrested and charged with possession of chemicals with intent to manufacture methamphetamine.
The driver, John Edwin Barbree, 39, of Taft, also was arrested and charged with possession of chemicals with intent to manufacture methamphetamine, as well as possession of a controlled substance, of less than one gram - methamphetamine.
The 1997 Explorer was seized since it was used in the transport of drugs.
Chapa explained on Jan. 22, a local resident was walking a dog when he/she discovered three backpacks at about 6 p.m. in a field off Market Street. When one of the bags was opened, the individual found a jar which contained a substance which burned his fingers when he attempted to open it.
ACSO officers responded and recovered what can be described as a “portable” meth lab. Chemicals as well as glassware, tubing, etc. needed to produce meth were recovered.
The DPS narcotics team was contacted and sent a team to take possession of the chemicals, equipment, etc.
Chapa explained those items must be properly disposed and the chemicals separated. The individuals handling the items also must be properly suited up, so as not to inhale the chemicals.
A week before that, on Jan. 17, Cox received information about a vehicle traveling from Corpus Christi which was suspected to be carrying drug paraphernalia.
Cox made contact with the driver and vehicle at about 8 p.m. in the 1500 block of 12th Street. He then called Chapa to assist at the scene.
The driver, Phyllis Mayes, 28, was arrested for possession of drug paraphernalia. She refused to consent to a body search and a warrant had to be obtained for that purpose.
She was then taken to a Corpus Christi Hospital for the search, where a large quantity of crack cocaine and heroin were found concealed in her private area.
Mayes was then charged with manufacture and delivery of a controlled substance, more than four grams, but less than 200 grams - cocaine; manufacture and delivery of a controlled substance, more than four grams but less than 200 grams - heroin; and manufacture or delivery of a controlled substance more than four grams, but less than 200 grams - crack cocaine.
A few days prior to that, during another traffic stop, Dixiana Carolina Lopez, 29, of Aransas Pass was arrested. After the stop, during a search by a female officer, a large amount of crack cocaine was discovered stuffed in Lopez’s underwear.
Lopez was charged with manufacture or delivery of a controlled substance, more than four grams, but less than 200 grams - crack cocaine. She also was charged for driving while license suspended.
Chapa noted with the number of arrests made last year, the number of burglaries occurring in Aransas County were cut in half in 2010. That is due to the fact many individuals who have been arrested had been supporting their habits by committing burglaries. Many of them were arrested and spent time in jail.
Chapa said it is an ongoing problem, but noted county and City law enforcement officers, along with those from the State, and DPS are continuing to work together to get this problem under control.