Drug warrant roundup nets 14 felony arrests

May 12, 2012

Hood County Sheriff’s Office deputies and Granbury Police officers combined to make 14 felony arrests Wednesday and early Thursday in a drug warrant roundup involving mostly methamphetamine.

Sheriff’s Office Lieutenant Johnny Rose and Chief Deputy Biff Temple said it was part of a yearlong undercover investigation in which suspects sold drugs to officers. There were a total of 20 deputies and four police officers involved in the roundup, officials said, which included some arrests within the Granbury city limits. Two canines were also used.

One arrest netted 15 grams of meth, Temple said, but the overall amount of drugs seized is not yet known.

“It’s a significant blow to those dealing controlled substances,” Temple said.

“This ranks in the top five for Hood County in the number of people arrested in a 24-hour period,” Rose said. “I think we definitely caught them off guard.”

The arrests were made at residences in the Granbury-area subdivisions of Whippoorwill Bay, Oak Trail Shores and Ports o’ Call, Rose said.

“The operation ran pretty smooth,” Rose said. “A lot of work was put into it – months and months of work. I think the sheriff is pretty pleased.

“In the last year, we’ve been making undercover buys from drug dealers. We decided to round them up all at one time.”

Rose said individual arrests in the ongoing effort were not made sooner in order to “keep the integrity of the cases.”

The roundup began at about 2 p.m. on Wednesday and concluded at around 3 a.m. Thursday, Temple said.

“I think we had 11 warrants, then we arrested an additional four people on site,” he said. “There were three locations that we executed search warrants based on observations when we went to make the arrests.”

Temple said “some of them are associated, loosely,” and added, “We’re still searching for the ones we couldn’t find last night. I think we have about 10 more.”

The suspects charged with first-degree felony counts involving a controlled substance are Ricky Joe Montgomery, 51, James Michael Checksfield, 37, and Jesselyn Nicole Jones, 24.

Those facing second-degree felony controlled substance charges are Ricky Joe Montgomery, 51, Bryan Richard Brown, 33, Hershel Len Askins Jr., 25, Kyle Christopher Young, 22, Tony Ray Plumlee, 61, Joseph John Ejem Jr., 48 (two counts), Daniel Ray Dunlap, 36, and Bryce Wayne Cobbs, 22.

State jail felony offenses were brought against Young, along with John Wesley Penneston, 26, and Leah Earline Smith, 40.

One of the suspects, Andrew Caleb Merrill, 26, is charged with a state jail felony count of delivery of marijuana.

Temple said no suspects fled, but one woman, Heather Carey Penneston, 36, was charged with a second-degree felony, hindering apprehension. Another man is facing only a Class B misdemeanor count for possession of marijuana.

“I have had my narcotics officers working hard, and I’m pleased with the results of all their hard work,” Sheriff Roger Deeds said. “I continue with my pledge to rid Hood County of the dangerous plague of drugs and make our community safer.”

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