Seven members of a local drug distribution ring will now face federal charges for the preparation and sale of cocaine base to residents of La Marque and Texas City, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Jennifer B. Lowery.
Authorities arrested Smith Henry Jones, 40, and wife Lekisha Marie Jones, 42, both of Houston; and Harold Damon Brown, 43, and Dejon Nicole Thomas, 38; both of La Marque, today. They are expected to make their initial appearances before U.S. Magistrate Judge Sam Sheldon in Houston as early as 2 p.m. today.
Latoya Vonea Worthy, 30, La Marque, is also charged. Shane Alan Flores, 39, League City, was previously in custody and appeared via Zoom today. He is set for a detention hearing before U.S. Magistrate Judge Andrew Edison March 29 at 2 p.m. Ronnie LaShawn Allen, 41, Hitchcock; was also in custody and will be transferred to face the charges in this indictment in the near future.
A federal grand jury returned the seven-count indictment under seal March 16, which was unsealed today. It alleges all seven individuals conspired to possess with intent to distribute cocaine powder and crack between Feb. 16, 2017, and Feb. 26, 2019. Five of the counts allege Allen and Thomas possessed with intent to distribute either cocaine or crack. The Joneses are also charged with conspiracy to commit money laundering.
All face a minimum of 10 years and up to life in federal prison as well as a possible $10 million maximum fine if convicted in the conspiracy. Those charged with the substantive drug counts could also receive up to 20 years and another $1 million maximum fine. The money laundering conspiracy carries a potential punishment of 20 years and a fine not to exceed $500,000 or twice the value of the property involved in the transaction.
The FBI conducted the investigation as part of the Coastal Safe Streets Task Force with the assistance of the LaMarque Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney Kenneth Cusick is prosecuting this case.