Feds: Drug rings dismantled in North Texas, dozens charged

DALLAS (AP) — Federal authorities said Thursday that two separate drug-trafficking networks operating in North Texas have been dismantled, leading to charges against 38 people.

U.S. Attorney Erin Nealy Cox announced the charges at a news conference in Wichita Falls and said the investigations also led to the seizure of firearms and narcotics.

She said one drug-trafficking organization operating out of Vernon involved the distribution of methamphetamine from supply sources in Dallas and Fort Worth. Twenty-five people are charged in a conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine, she said. Many are from Dallas or Vernon, and Cox said 22 defendants charged in the case were arrested Thursday morning.

Authorities began investigating the drug ring in 2014.

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Federal court documents said the drug-trafficking organization involved the participation of Jerry McBride, who owned and operated a Vernon nightclub that was suspected of being a distribution point of methamphetamine. He was shot to death last year inside the nightclub during an “apparent robbery attempt,” according to the court documents.

Cox said the second case involved a drug-trafficking operation that moved meth and heroin to Wichita Falls from Dallas. Thirteen people, almost all from Wichita Falls, have been charged in that case.

“This is what law enforcement looks like. The FBI working with its partners to make sure that a community can wake up tomorrow a little safer,” Eric Jackson, an FBI special agent in charge, said at the news conference.