Four men have been indicted on charges drug charges related to the discovery of illegal marijuana grows across East Texas and believed to be linked to the Los Zetas cartel. 

The indictments came last week and were among 27 total people indicted on 32 charges. The charges include 14 state jail felonies, seven third degree felonies, 10 second degree felonies and one first degree felony) in the latest grand jury proceedings. 

The four men accused in relation to the marijuana grows face charges of criminal conspiracy to commit possession of marijuana greater than 50 pounds and less than 2,000 pounds, a second degree felony. 

These charges came after  law enforcement officials traced more than a dozen illegal marijuana grows in the region to the Los Zetas cartel. An extensive multi-agency investigation led to the discovery of 15 marijuana cultivation sites spanning at least nine East Texas counties including Smith. Federal State and local law enforcement agencies partnered in the investigation which lasted from July 2015 to December 2016.

Erick Cruz-Olemedo, 31, of Guerrero, Mexico was arrested on Sept. 16, 2016 during a raid on a marijuana field where approximately 4,000 plants were growing near the intersection of County Road 26 and County Road 244 in eastern Smith County 

Cruz-Olemedo was booked into the Smith County jail on Sept. 12, 2016. He is being held on an immigration detainer and the second degree felony offense with bonds totaling $200,000 according to Smith County judicial records. 

Court records from the 114th District Court show three cases related to Cruz-Olmedo. The suspects in those cases are all charged with criminal conspiracy to commit possession of marijuana greater than 50 pounds and less than 2,000 pounds.

Albert Rueda-Ramirez, 23, of Tyler was arrested and booked into the Smith County jail on March 8 and was held on an immigration hold and a $200,000 bond according to Smith County judicial records. 

Ranferi Duarte-Ramirez, 27 and Regulo Ramirez-Duarte, 22 of Tyler  were arrested and booked into the Smith County jail on March 7. They were held on an immigration hold and a $200,000 bond according to Smith County judicial records. 

Cruz-Olemedo, Rueda-Ramirez, Duarte-Ramirez and Ramirez-Duarte are scheduled for arraignment hearings on June 23 and jury trials on July 31 according to court documents.

The others indicted include:

• Lucy Ann Agee, Theft of property valued under $2,500 with two or more previous convictions 

• Markus Laquinn Akins, Retaliation 

• Krystal Lee Brown, Aggravated Assault with a deadly weapon 

• Antwon Dewayne Caldwell, Unlawful possession of a firearm by a felon

• Von William Cheeiman, Possession of a controlled substance in penalty group 1 between four grams but under 200 grams.

• Shantyza Shaqueece  Cooks, Burglary of a habitation, two counts 

• James Edward Crockett Jr., Burglary of a habitation with intent to commit another felony 

• Richard Earl Cumby Jr., Driving while intoxicated-third or more   

• Tanya Lanea Grant, Theft of property under $2,500 with two or more previous convictions 

• Tabitha Lynn Gromley, Fraud use/possession of identifying information with five or less items  and forgery with a financial instrument 

• Troy Bernard Guthrie, Theft of property under $2,500 with two or more previous convictions 

• Jimmy Lynn Hayes Tamper or fabricate physical evidence with the intent to impair and p possession of a controlled substance in penalty group 1 under one gram

• Ayla Christine Hitchcock,  Possession of a controlled substance in penalty group 1 between one grams but under four grams

• Danny Lynn Hobbs, Aggravated assault with a deadly weapon 

• Uriah David Hunt, Possession of a controlled substance in penalty group 1 between one grams but under four grams

• Kimberly Inez Johnson,  Possession of a controlled substance in penalty group 1 under one gram

• Lamarcus Lakeith,  Fraud use/possession of identifying information with five or less items

• Tania Lacy Natacha, Tamper or fabricate physical evidence with the intent to impair  

• Thomas Elliot Nance, Credit card or debit card abuse 

• Javier Ivan Quezada Hernandez, Possession of a controlled substance in penalty group 1 under one gram

• Susan Rasberry, Possession of a controlled substance in penalty group 1 under one gram

• Joshua Lee Rice, Aggravated assault with a deadly weapon 

• James Edwin Thornton,  Possession of a controlled substance in penalty group 1 under one gram 

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Crime and Breaking News Reporter

I started working at the Tyler Morning Telegraph in June 2016. I am a retired U.S. Air Force Sr. Master Sergeant. After a 21-year military career, in Security Forces, the military police of the Air Force, I went back to college and studied journalism.

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