PARIS, Tex. (KXII) - Eight Lamar County residents and a Red River County man have been indicted by a federal grand jury in Sherman for weapons and narcotics violations, United States Attorney Joseph D. Brown announced Tuesday.
A spokeswoman from Brown's office says the charges are a result of the efforts of the ATF Eastern District of Texas Violent Crime Task Force, a cooperation between the Paris Police Department, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF), and multiple other regional law enforcement agencies.
The following individuals were indicted on July 10, 2019 and arrested this week:
Earnest Napoleon Edwards, a.k.a. Jay Edwards, 36, of Paris, Texas, was indicted in a three-count indictment for distribution of and possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine, and knowing and unlawful possession of a firearm and ammunition by a convicted felon.
Kenya Devonta Bell, 26, of Clarksville, Texas, was indicted for possession of a firearm by a person previously convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence.
Latray Wright, 26, of Paris, Texas, was indicted in a two-count indictment for two charges of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon occurring on March 16, 2019, and May 11, 2019.
Chadwick Cardell Pratt, 36, of Paris, Texas, was indicted in a three-count indictment for possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance, possession or carrying of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime, and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.
Parris Quintez Hughes, 24, of Paris, Texas, was indicted in a two-count indictment for possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.
Justin Dewayne Thomas, 30, of Paris, Texas, was indicted in a four-count indictment for conspiracy to distribute or possess with intent to distribute a controlled substance, and for three distinct periods of possession of multiple firearms while aware that he is a convicted felon.
Kayla Kyle, 29, of Paris, Texas, was indicted for conspiracy to distribute or possess with intent to distribute a controlled substance.
Jeffrey Whitehead, 33, of Paris, Texas, was indicted in a three-count indictment for possession with intent to distribute or dispense methamphetamine, possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime, and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.
A spokeswoman from Brown's office said the ATF’s Eastern District Task Force was created earlier this year as part of the Department of Justice’s Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) initiative, a program designed to reduce violent crime through collaboration of local, state, and federal law enforcement and prosecution. Task force partners include the ATF, the Paris Police Department, Plano Police Department, Sherman Police Department, Frisco Police Department, The Colony Police Department, the Cooke County Sheriff’s Office, and the Collin County Sheriff’s Office.
“These charges are the result of good teamwork between these agencies,” said United States Attorney Joseph Brown. “They will work together all over northeast Texas to share information and resources and target the offenders who really drive violent crime rates – those carrying guns while they deal drugs and engage in other criminal behavior. The Project Safe Neighborhoods model has been effective all over the country in reducing violent crime.”
As part of the program, federal officials announced this week that the Paris Police Department would receive $100,000 in grant proceeds to provide equipment, including vehicles, cameras, and other surveillance tools.
“We are pleased to be able to take these offenders off the street,” said Paris Police Chief Bob Hundley. “These are repeat offenders, who continue to carry weapons and break the law, and we want to do everything we can to stop the behavior now, before someone gets really hurt. The grant funds we are being awarded will help that effort. They will provide investigative tools that we could not afford otherwise.”
“Collaboration is vital to ensure those who should not have guns do not have guns,” stated ATF Special Agent in Charge Jeffrey C. Boshek III. “The Project Safe Neighborhoods initiative brings law enforcement, prosecutors and community organizations together to develop comprehensive solutions to address violent crime.”
In addition to bringing law enforcement agencies together and providing grant funds for local partners, the Project Safe Neighborhoods initiative also provides funding for statistical research to track crime rate data, identify areas for law enforcement focus, and provide other statistical support. The initiative also supports crime prevention and offender reentry programs and improved resources for offenders upon release from incarceration.