A federal grand jury has returned indictments on eight Beaumont residents who have been charged with federal drug trafficking.

The grand jury handed down indictments on Wednesday and local law enforcement officers began arresting the eight suspects Thursday according to a release from the U.S. Attorney's Office.

This was a very important investigation for us, there are several reasons, obviously, these are the most violent criminals that, as a group, we have seen in a long long time. And they are the ones that committed the vast majority of violent crimes," Beaumont Police Chief Jim Singletary said.

"Hopefully, this will put a dent into some of the violent crime that has been going on," Chief Singletary said.

Eric Paul Coleman, 32, Minnie Coleman, 56, Christopher Dudley, 39, Clayton Howard, 40, Jordan Marshall, 24, Arthur Jenkins, 46, Patrice Stocker, 28 and Ivy Chatman, 30, all of Beaumont, were named in the indictment and will make their initial appearances before a federal magistrate in Beaumont once they are in custody the release said.

The eight were charged with "various drug trafficking violations' that all involved either powder or crack cocaine according to the release.

During a five year period spanning from December 2012 to December 2017 the indictment alleges that Eric Paul Coleman distributed powder and crack cocaine in the north end of Beaumont the release said.

Christopher Dudley, assisted by Clayton Howard, allegedly transported powder cocaine from Houston and delivered it to Coleman according to the release.

Coleman then manufactured crack in homes he owned in the north end of Beaumont as well as selling powder and crack cocaine from them.

The homes are withing 1000 feet of Homer Drive Elementary School the release said.

Coleman also did the same from the home of his mother, Minnie Coleman, who helped distribute the drugs according to the release.

Jordan Marshall, Arthur Jenkins, Patrice Stoker, and Ivy Chatman also helped distribute Coleman's cocaine and crack cocaine the release said.

Coleman and some of his associates, such as Jordan Marshall, also carried weapons to protect his territory from rival drug dealers according to the release.

Coleman, his mother and Patrice Stoker took cash proceeds from the cocaine sales and put them into a bank the release said.

All eight face ten years to life in federal prison if convicted.

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and the Beaumont Police Department investigated the cases which are being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher T. Rapp.

From the office U.S. Attorney's Alan R. Jackson...

“The Department of Justice has made addressing neighborhood violent crime a priority, as has the Eastern District of Texas,” said U.S. Attorney Alan R. Jackson.

“Today’s indictment of Eric Coleman and his associates by a federal grand jury represents the culmination of months of hard work by the Beaumont Police Department and the Drug Enforcement Administration.

This indictment is a direct strike against significant drug trafficking and violent crime in the city of Beaumont, and we will continue to use all available tools and resources to help keep our community safe.”

“This is one of the most important investigations for the Beaumont Police Department in recent years,” said Beaumont Police Chief Jimmy Singletary.

“I cannot remember a more violent group of criminal that we’ve ever encountered in this city. We appreciate the assistance of the U.S. Attorney’s Office and DEA in the investigation and prosecution of these individuals.

I am very proud of our narcotics officers and special assignment unit officers and the excellent way they work with the DEA agents during this complex and high-risk investigation.

In a press conference four months ago, we told the citizens of Beaumont we would get these individuals and we did.

There are more out there and we’re going after them”