The arrest of a Woodway man Wednesday for what officials called a McLennan County record amount of synthetic marijuana, or K2, was the latest in a string of drug arrests spawned from sheriff’s office investigations.
Three separate drug raids in as many days landed 12 suspects in jail this week in McLennan and Coryell counties. McLennan County sheriff’s officials said the raids and subsequent arrests came after monthslong investigations.
Amubarak Ali, 59, was booked into the McLennan County Jail early Thursday morning after the Wednesday raid at his Woodway home and a storage shed on two counts of manufacture and delivery of a controlled substance. He was released Thursday afternoon on a $20,000 bond, Sheriff Parnell McNamara said.
Ali was arrested at his home in the 200 block of Rockford Drive after deputies searched the residence and a storage shed and found between $175,124 and $200,000 worth of K2 packets and hydrocodone pills, McNamara said.
The search warrant was the result of a three-month investigation by the sheriff’s office’s organized crime unit, narcotics unit and the Department of Public Safety, he said. McNamara said the bust will make a large dent in McLennan County’s synthetic marijuana supply, but the investigation is ongoing.
“We will be going after the others,” he said. “We’re not going to tolerate this kind of thing.”
“In Waco, somebody will fill this gap, but it’s going to take someone substantial,” said Mike Gates, who works in the sheriff’s office’s organized crime unit.
Gates said the colors and look of the packaging of K2, which was legal a few years ago, are designed to attract a younger clientele.
Gates also said the sheriff’s office has seen evidence that K2, which varies in flavor and strength, may cause a physical addiction if abused.
Officials described Ali’s operation as a large supply that was distributed through convenience stores.
Raid in Moody
Four of this week’s arrests occurred Tuesday, when the McLennan County Sheriff’s office assisted Coryell County in a drug raid on four Moody men that morning.
Coryell County Sheriff Johnny Burks said the search warrant stemmed from a three-month investigation into the distribution of narcotics.
The four men were charged of possession of a controlled substance and manufacture and delivery of a controlled substance, but Burks did not disclose what kind of drugs allegedly were found at the residence.
The suspects were transported to Coryell County Jail and were awaiting arraignment Tuesday afternoon, Burks said. The Woodway Special Response Team, McLennan County Sheriff’s Office Special Response Team, Moody Police Department, Heart of Texas Auto Theft Task Force and Gatesville Police Department all assisted in the raid, he said.
Arrests at hotel
Monday’s raid happened at two adjacent rooms in an area hotel, and McLennan County officials said it was the result of a five-month investigation.
Chief Sheriff’s Deputy Matt Cawthon said a tip and surveillance led to the arrest of the seven suspects under various charges after officers found crystal methamphetamine, marijuana, Xanax, hydrocodone, a small amount of cocaine and equipment used to make fake IDs.
Summer Skains Cockrell, 36, was charged with fraudulent use or possession of identifying information because of the equipment, Cawthon said.
Christopher Pena, 43; Billy Wyers, 37; Paul Resendez, 29; Michael Flores, 25; Dedrick Evans, 25; and Martie McMinn, 19, all were charged with possession of a controlled substance, and all but McMinn’s and Wyers’ charges included an intent to distribute.
The sheriff’s office’s organized crime unit, patrol division and the Department of Public Safety participated in the investigation.
Deputies declined to release the name of the motel where the arrests were made because the owners were cooperative in the investigation, McNamara said.
He said the timing of the three raids in three consecutive days was a coincidence dictated by information uncovered in the investigations.
“You don’t ever really know when these investigations are going to boil over or come to a head,” he said Thursday.
“We have found that the harder we work, the luckier we get.”