19 arrested on state, federal charges

After an 18-month investigation by federal, state and local law enforcement agencies, 19 of 22 wanted individuals were arrested Thursday in a multi-county roundup. The arrests were part of a lengthy investigation in to members of a large drug organiztion involved in the illegal distribution of methamphetamine, cocaine and marijuana as well as firearms violations and organized criminal activities in McCulloch, Tom Green and Mason counties. In all, 22 defendants have been indicted on state and federal conspiracy, drug and weapons related offenses. On Thursday, a coordinated effort by officers of the Texas Department of Public Safety, United States Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, McCulloch, Mason and Tom Green County Sheriff’s offices and the Brady Police Department arrested 19 of the 22 wanted persons and officers are continuing the search for the three remaining individuals. The entire effort was done in cooperation with the 198th District Attorney’s Office as well as the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Austin. According to a press release issued by the McCulloch County Sheriff Earl Howell, during the investigation, the primary focus was on the illegal distribution of methamphetamine by members of the organization in Tom Green, McCulloch and Mason counties. Individuals arrested in McCulloch County on state charges included Michael Allen Estes, Amanda Hernandez Chapa, Jose Antonio Castillo and Ivan Rodriguez. Christopher Brent Appleton, Ezekiel Pena Chavarria and Andrea Hebert Young were arrested in Tom Green County on state charges. According to Sheriff Howell, each of those arrested in McCulloch County on state charges had $50,000 bond amounts set for each individual with bond amounts set by the district judge. Of those individuals arrested locally on state charges, every one posted the $50,000 bail and is currently out on bail. Five persons were arrested on federal charges and are currently in federal prisons awaiting their bond hearings. Those arrested on federal charges include: Mark Copeland, Manuel Muniz, David Ramirez, Andrew Harris and Christopher Shane Walton. According to Mason County Sheriff Clint Low, Michelle Doege, Matthew Trammel, Aleisha Elliott Rueffer, Zachary Paul Brown, Erin Brooke Hooten, Aaron Thomas Condron and Danny Lee Walton were arrested or have arranged to turn themselves into authorities. Three individuals still have yet to be located. Monica Stacey Ramirez and Rocky Duran Ramirez are wanted on state charges and Jonathan Marquart is wanted by law enforcement agencies with federal charges.

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