Eighteen locals with ties to Mexican drug ring arrested

Published 12:01 am Wednesday, August 29, 2012

WATERPROOF — Over the course of the last week, federal and state and local officials have arrested 18 members of an alleged Tensas Parish drug ring with ties to Mexico and seized more than 100 pounds of marijuana, 90 ounces of cocaine, weapons and $100,000 in cash.

Four people from Concordia Parish were among the arrested. According to a Louisiana State Police spokesperson, the group was alleged to be moving large amounts of marijuana and cocaine from Texas into Tensas Parish. The Louisiana State Police Bureau of Investigation, the Tensas Parish Sheriff’s Office and U.S. Homeland Security Investigations investigated the matter.

The 18 suspects arrested in the case were picked up by members of LSP Troops E and F and the Concordia and Tensas Parish sheriff’s offices. All of those arrested were charged with racketeering, conspiracy to possession with intent to distribute marijuana; conspiracy to possession with intent to distribute schedule II drugs; conspiracy to distribution of marijuana; conspiracy to distribution of cocaine and transactions involving proceeds from drug transactions.

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A conviction on the charges could result in a prison sentence of 120 years and $1.1 million in fines.

“Illegal narcotics are not just an urban problem.  Unfortunately it affects all of Louisiana.  State police will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to rid our communities of drugs,” LSP Superintendent Colonel Mike Edmonson said.  “The results of this investigation are indicative of what we can do when federal, state and local law enforcement work together.”

Tensas Parish Sheriff Ricky Jones said he was always glad to work with the LSP to keep the parish free of drugs. Concordia Parish Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy David Hedrick said the CPSO’s role was in a support capacity when the other agencies served the warrants against the suspects.

“Our guys stood by for security while the state police and Tensas Parish did it,” Hedrick said.

Those arrested were: Paula M. Williams, 31, of Waterproof; Antoinette S. Lewis, 23, of Waterproof, Elisha Ann Hillard, 27, of Waterproof; Derrick L. Fields, 42, of Waterproof; Curtis T. Cephus, 36, of Waterproof; Morris O. Clark, 23, of Waterproof; James Cephus, 33, of Waterproof; Brandon O. Daniels, 37, of Ferriday; Craig Carter, 51, of Houston; Darshiana Edwards, 23, of Waterproof; Mark Bethel, 35, of Waterproof; Samantha Cephus, 43, of Waterproof; Jeanetta Gill, 35, of Waterproof; Jeremy Walsworth, 20, of Vidalia; Kenya Cephus Simmons, 32, of Ferriday; Steven Ross, 29, of Waterproof; Maurice Devine, 35, of New Orleans; Lemar E. Reese, 33, of Clayton.