Tactical teams help arrest 14 Houston men indicted for federal drug trafficking and firearm violations
HOUSTON – More than a dozen men are behind bars and facing federal charges as part of a joint operation to crack down on violent offenders in the Houston area.
A total of 14 men were jailed after being charged in various crimes, including drug trafficking, possessing a “Glock switch” and being a felon in possession of a firearm, U.S. Attorney Alamdar S. Hamdani announced Thursday.
The following suspects were taken into custody on Wednesday: Anthony Ketchum, 35; Anthony Yezeno-Hopkins, 38; Brandon Milson, 32; Hassani Mills, 34; Jaylyn Pinson, 29; Josue Rodriguez, 32; Keith Moore, 34; Michael Henry, 32; Myles Smith, 23; Robert Thomas, 29; Sterling Brumant, 26; Titus Baisey, 35 and Toree White, 27, according to a news release.
FBI Houston Special Agent in Charge James Smith told KPRC 2 that FBI tactical teams from around the state came in, and more than 200 personnel were spread across the county. They surrounded the homes of the accused criminals and arrested them around 6 a.m. on Wednesday.
For every criminal that we take off the streets, that’s one less person being victimized,” Smith said.
A federal grand jury returned the 11-count indictment on Dec. 7 for federal violations including drug trafficking and unlawful possession of a firearm.
“Guns and drugs. They fuel violent crime,” Smith said.
According to court records, several of the men have lengthy criminal histories in Harris County.
“Federal charges are usually longer sentences,” Smith said. “It’s much harder to be released on bond on the federal side than it is on the state side.”
According to the DOJ, Brumant was arrested in California and ordered detained pending further criminal proceedings.
Also charged is Julian Herrera, 26. He was previously in custody on related charges. He made his appearance Wednesday in Houston along with the other nine men.
With the exception of Thomas and Rodriguez, the remaining men are charged with possession with intent to deliver meth. They face up to life in prison and could be ordered to pay fines up to $10 million. Moore faces an additional charge of possession with intent to deliver heroin, which carries a maximum of 40 years in prison.
The indictment also alleges Thomas unlawfully possessed a firearm, a device made and intended to convert a semi-automatic pistol to being fully automatic, aka Glock auto switch. If convicted, he faces a 10-year possible sentence.
Rodriguez is alleged to have been in possession of a firearm – Ruger 5.7 mm. As a convicted felon, he is prohibited from federal law of such and could also be sentenced to a maximum of 10 years if found guilty.
It’s the second group of arrests announced in the last two months, following a September announcement by federal and local officials about a U.S. Department of Justice initiative. It targets gangs and the most violent offenders by surging law enforcement tools and resources, including federal prosecutors, to the Houston area.
“We’re going to use every resource available to make sure that we’re dismantling gangs, that we are dismantling criminal networks, and that’s important,” Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez said at the September announcement.
The FBI arrested seven men in October for allegations including conspiracy to commit interference with commerce by robbery, conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and carrying a weapon in relation to a drug trafficking offense, the DOJ said in a news release.
“We will keep chipping away at these criminal enterprises to reduce the crime in the Houston area – that’s our job,” Smith said.