Home Crime Trio Busted for Engaging in Organized Crime

Trio Busted for Engaging in Organized Crime

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Drugs, Identity Theft Cited

By Will Johnson

Messenger Reporter

LATEXO – A trio from Palestine is behind bars after a traffic stop yielded fraudulent identification items and illegal narcotics.

According to an affidavit of arrest and detention, Shumonteana Jershay Quna Bell, 17, Ricky Eugene Johnson, 46, and Raymond Lee Whitaker, 52, were arrested and taken into custody on charges of: possession of narcotic paraphernalia; possession of a controlled substance, penalty group one; fraudulent use of identifying information; and engaging in organized criminal activity. Whitaker also had warrants out for his arrest from Henderson County.

The aforementioned affidavit reported Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) Trooper Kody Woolley was on patrol during the evening of Sept. 17 when he observed a Dodge pickup truck with a defective license plate lamp as well as a defective brake light. The vehicle was traveling north on US Hwy 287 in Latexo.

The DPS Trooper initiated a traffic stop and when the vehicle came to a stop, he approached the truck on the passenger’s side where he “… immediately observed a methamphetamine pipe in the center console cup holder.”

He asked the three people inside to exit the vehicle for further investigation. The passengers were identified as Bell and Johnson, but when the driver was asked for identification, he identified himself as Shane Williams.

As the investigation continued, Trooper Woolley observed “… a clear plastic bag on the ground containing a crystal substance next to where the three individuals were standing. I believed the substance was methamphetamine based on my training and experience as a Peace Officer.”

Bell was placed in the front seat of the trooper’s patrol unit and after being secured, Bell informed Woolley the driver’s real name was Raymond Lee Whitaker.

“Bell (also) informed me she had been at the Game Room in Crockett with Whitaker and Johnson. Bell informed me she was receiving financial benefits from Whitaker and Johnson and both individuals were cashing fraudulent checks and had fraudulent identifying information and materials in a red bag, located in the rear passenger seat of the truck,” the affidavit stated.

Woolley began a probable cause search of the vehicle and discovered the following items:

  • A broken meth pipe in the center console.
  • A meth pipe in the sun glasses compartment.
  • A tan bag containing a meth pipe, an external hard drive and fraudulent identifying information.
  • A red bag containing a plastic bag of meth, a printer/scanner with paper materials used to make fraudulent identifying information, copies of Social Security cards and drivers’ licenses, pictures of Johnson, fraudulent blank checks and glue sticks.
  • A yellow purse containing an electronic scale and fraudulent identifying information.
  • A yellow folder containing fraudulent checks and fraudulent identifying information
  • An open bottle of MD 20/20.   

Bell, Johnson and Whitaker were transported to the Houston County Jail where they were booked into custody on charges of possession of narcotic paraphernalia (Class C misdemeanor); possession of a controlled substance, penalty group one (third-degree felony); fraudulent use of identifying information (second-degree felony); and engaging in organized criminal activity (a third degree-felony).

According to Section 12.33 of the Texas Penal Code, “An individual adjudged guilty of a felony of the second degree shall be punished by imprisonment in the institutional division for any term of not more than 20 years or less than two years. In addition to imprisonment, an individual adjudged guilty of a felony of the second degree may be punished by a fine not to exceed $10,000.”

A third-degree felony is punishable by a term of two to 10 years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine.

Because of the warrants out of Henderson County, Whitaker has been no-bonded. Bell is being held on bonds totaling $70,200 while Johnson’s total bond is $70,500.

Will Johnson may be contacted via e-mail at wjohnson@messenger-news.com.  

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