BEAUMONT - Sixteen Southeast Texas men are facing federal indictments stemming from several violent crime cases in the area.
32 individuals total have been charged in federal firearms related cases. 16 defendants are in custody while 16 others await arrests.
The names of those arrested are:
- Robert Lee Johnson, 43, of Port Arthur, Texas
- Desmond Harper, 31, of Beaumont, Texas
- Carlos Rodriguez-Torres, 35, of Lumberton, Texas
- Ernest Gatlin, 38, of Beaumont, Texas
- Harvey Davis, 38, of Bon Weir, Texas
- David Wells, 38, of Lumberton, Texas
- Kionte Hawkins, 29, of Beaumont, Texas
- Damon Hargrave, 37, of Beaumont, Texas
- Jakorian Sanderson, 20, of Beaumont, Texas
- LeeJaray Smith, 40, of Beaumont, Texas
- Joseph Carter, 39, of Beaumont, Texas
- Dwayne Morgan, 25, of Vidor, Texas
- Dacqure Holmes, 38, of Port Arthur, Texas
- Corey Stone, 35, of Beaumont, Texas
- Arne Koenig, 43, of Buna, Texas
- Eric Martin, 32, of Port Arthur, Texas
The defendants are believed to be suspects in multiple violent crimes in Hardin, Jasper, Jefferson, and Orange Counties.
The crimes include bank robbery, firearms violations, drug trafficking violations, money laundering, immigration violations, and conspiracy to commit robberies interfering with interstate commerce.
Some of the suspects are believed to have ties to gangs such as the Young Original Gorillas, the Aryan Brotherhood of Texas, the 52 Hoover Crips and the Gangster Disciples.
Along with the arrests, 26 firearms and over 400 rounds of ammunition were seized.
Acting U.S. Attorney Brit Featherston said during the press conference that some of the suspects are convicted felons.
"If you are a felon, if you choose to carry a gun, or commit crimes, hear us now, ring this bell now for you and your friends, we're coming for you and we're going to get you," Featherston said during a press conference.
It's an effort led by many local law enforcement agencies.
"I know they want the bad people off the streets, we want the bad people off the streets too," Port Arthur Police Chief Patrick Melvin said after the conference.
Chief Melvin says that his department is committed to cleaning up the streets.
"We're happy that we're getting some dangerous people off the streets and I think Port Arthur is safer as a result of this," Chief Melvin said.
While law enforcement is working behind the scenes, Jefferson County Sheriff Zena Stephens feels it's equally important the community has been involved.
"Whether it's gun buybacks, stop the violence marches or rallies, I think all of those are important because it shows that we as a community are going to stand against those hurting people in our community," Stephens said.
If convicted, the suspects face penalties ranging from five years to life in federal prison.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the U.S. DEA, the FBI, the Beaumont Police Department, the Port Arthur Police Department, The Orange Police Department, the Jasper County Sheriff's Office and Jefferson County Sheriff's Office are investigating the cases.
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