A yearlong joint investigation into gang-related drug and illegal weapons dealers resulted in the indictment of 21 individuals, the Jacksonville Police Department announced earlier this week.
Jacksonville Police Chief Reece Daniel said two operations took place — one for drugs such as crack cocaine and another for methamphetamine.
“All communities in the United States have drug or gang problems to a certain degree,” he said in a prepared statement. “The difference is that we made a conscious decision to address the problem head on and remove these criminals from our city and county. This investigation and the resulting arrests would not have been possible without the full cooperation and support of the FBI agents and their supervisors. Investigators from the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office also provided invaluable assistance and intelligence information that proved to be a key element in making some of the cases.”
He added, “This is exactly the type of interagency cooperation that rids our communities of criminals who sell drugs and guns while recruiting our children into gangs.”
Cherokee County Sheriff James Campbell said in a news release that many drug dealers move into rural areas because they believe they won’t attract as much attention as they would in cities. His office has had a zero tolerance on drug activity, he said in the release, and these investigations produced a large amount of illegal drugs seized as well as arrests.
“Most of our burglaries and violent crimes are a direct result of illegal drug activity. All agencies must continue to work to help rid this problem from our society,” Campbell said in a prepared statement.
Chief Daniel echoed Campbell, saying, “I am extremely proud of all of the investigators and agents involved in the operation and the professional way in which they pursued this investigation. Many long hours and weekends away from their families were required to arrest these dangerous individuals but not one of them complained. Working with the FBI agents and the CCSO investigators assigned to these cases has been a very good experience and has resulted in a positive outcome for the citizens of Jacksonville and those who live in the unincorporated areas of Cherokee County.”
People arrested in drug operations are: Manuel Esau Mendez, 24; Servando Cabrales, 24; Francisco Yuriel Nava, 32; Raul Benitez Arellano, 27; and Pedro Gonzalez III, 28.
According to a news release, those individuals are alleged gang members accused of being involved in selling narcotics, guns and inspection certificates.
People arrested in the methamphetamine operation are: Randall Matthew Moore, 28; Kevin Wade Gray, 31; Jesse Lee Mims, 24; Kayla Breann Tompkins, 23; Parfidio Ortega, 43; James Andrew Fields, 33; Andrew Willard Tarver Jr., 21; Ron Yates Terry, 41; Steven Ray Blaine, 21; Cody Francis Ormond, 23; and Jonathan Mark Adcock, 36.
According to a news release, that organization is accused of being responsible for burglaries, copper thefts, receiving stolen property in exchange for narcotics, sale of narcotics and putting guns in the hands of felons and drug dealers.
All of them are from Jacksonville or Cherokee County.
In addition to the individuals listed in the above operations, there are five other suspects arrested that are involved with the investigation, Daniel said.