On Thursday, March 23, an anonymous tip led to the most substantial meth bust Trinity County has seen in recent years with law enforcement recovering approximately 10.5 grams of methamphetamine off of 20-year-old Ryan Lambert, an alleged local drug dealer.
Lambert entered a residence at 340 E. Caroline Street in Trinity to trade a portion of his meth for pistols – sawed off shotguns with barrels less than 18 inches in circumference. When the trade was underway, Trinity Police Chief Steven Jones and Trinity County Narcotics Deputy Alexander ambushed Lambert in what is known as a “buy arrest”, handcuffed him, and took him into custody.
Lambert is charged with first-degree felony Manufacture/Delivery of a Controlled Substance between 4 and 200 grams. A first-degree felony is the highest drug charge a person can receive, and can result in five to 99 years in prison. He was later charged with third-degree felony Prohibited Weapon and state jail felony Possession of a Controlled Substance less than one gram.
While Lambert was inside, his associate, 54-year-old Douglas Foster, sat in a vehicle outside the residence. As an accomplice to the crime, Foster was also charged with first-degree felony Manufacture/Delivery of a Controlled Substance between 4 and 200 grams, third-degree felony Prohibited Weapon, and state jail felony Possession of a Controlled Substance less than one gram.
During the course of the investigation, law enforcement learned that there was possibly drug paraphernalia at Foster’s residence in Trinity Cove where he and his son, Richard Douglas reside. Chief Jones said that he, Deputy Alexander, and Trinity County Sheriff Woody Wallace went to the location and located an illegal 12-gauge shotgun and drug paraphernalia related to methamphetamine. This discovery led to the arrest of 18-year-old Douglas who was charged with third-degree felony Prohibited Weapon and state jail felony Possession of a Controlled Substance. The sheriff’s office is in the process of seizing Foster’s land in Trinity Cove and his vehicle.
“Sheriff Wallace has always actively and aggressively pursued illegal drug users, and has been integral in creating an environment where local law enforcement agencies can team up and work together,” Chief Jones said. “Recently he has doubled his effort in minimizing the use of narcotics in this county. He has one deputy – Jeremy Alexander -- who is completely dedicated to narcotics investigations, and two K-9 units including Deputy Alexander. There have been several drug busts recently – lots of activity. We encourage anyone with information about illegal drug use to call us.”
Anyone with information about illegal activity in Trinity County can call the Trinity Police Department at (936)-594-2505, the Sheriff’s Office at (936)-642-1424, or leave an anonymous tip with Trinity County Crime Stoppers at (936)-639-TIPS.
GROVETON – The Trinity County Commissioners’ Court appointed a human resources manager for the county and saw to a few items dealing with roads at its regular meeting on Monday morning.
County Auditor Bonnie Kennedy was appointed to be the acting human resources manager for Trinity County. Kennedy, who has 25 years of experience in the HR field, agreed to accept the position with no additional cost to the county for the duties it entails. Precinct 3 Commissioner Neal Smith said the appointment was greatly needed by the county, due to a couple of recent issues, and Precinct 2 Commissioner Rich Chamberlin agreed. “With the murky waters of federal employment law, it’s important we have someone [in the HR field],” Chamberlin said. Kennedy’s appointment was sealed with a motion put on the table by Commissioner Smith and a second provided by Precinct 4 Commissioner Jimmy Brown.
Public hearing rescheduled
At 9:30 a.m. during the meeting County Judge Doug Page opened the court for a public hearing for the purpose of extending Texas Transportation Code Laws to all roads within the Westwood Shores Subdivision. County Attorney Joe Bell warned the commissioners that if the action was taken to extend the laws to all of the roads “there might be unintended consequences.” Bell referred to advice given to him by a colleague that could mean a de facto annexation of the roads into the county’s care if traffic laws were enforced.
Precinct 1 Commissioner Grover “Tiger” Worsham said that the county would not accept the maintenance responsibility for the roads inside the subdivision, as they are not designated as county roads. There were also questions about the operation of golf carts and ATVs on the roads, if traffic laws were enforced. Precinct 2 Constable Mark Cole said he would research the matter, and bring his findings before the court on Monday, March 27, which is the date the hearing was passed to.
Commissioners also slated a hearing concerning another thoroughfare within the county. A hearing was scheduled for Monday, April 24, to discuss and act on a petition from residents of Hogg Extension Road to rename it to Davis Road.
Other business items:
During its meeting, the court also voted to:
•Appoint Commissioner Chamberlin as a liaison for the 911 Addressing Coordinator. Commissioner Chamberlin agreed to help whoever is appointed to the position.
•Renew a contract with Auctioneer Express to post county surplus auction items online for bidding.
•Approve two budget amendments, one for the Precinct 2 Road and Bridge Fund and the other for the Sheriff’s Department. Money from remaining FEMA funds were approved to put into the Precinct 2 general fund. The Sheriff’s Department received a $1,000 donation to go toward the inmate farm.
TRINITY - On Saturday, March 18, Governor Greg Abbott made history in Trinity County by being the first sitting governor to visit. This marked the fulfillment of a long-standing promise on the part of Governor Abbott made during his initial run for his office when he vowed to personally visit the county, which had the most percentage of precincts with a Republican majority. The event, also acting as a celebration of the first time in 200 years that Trinity County became a Republican territory, was delayed multiple times due to repeated schedule conflicts.
The event was sponsored by the Trinity County Republican Party, with arrangements made by Chairman Scott Womack, and the help of a number of Trinity County residents. With over 300 attendees, student groups from Trinity and Apple Springs worked as servers and ushers, the Republican Women of Trinity County organized the meal, and Vice President Sheran Casey, made enough Texas-themed cakes to cover an eight-foot table. Wade McKinney, the Chaplain for the Department of Public Safety and Texas Rangers led the crowd in singing, “God Bless America”, and River of Life Church Pastor Mike Loftin led the invocation. Precinct 2 Justice of the Peace and gospel singer Lyle Stubbs sang the National Anthem, and the crowd joined him. The Republican Women of Trinity County presented Governor Abbott with a patriotic pen, made by Trinity County Deputy David Magness.
Governor Abbott recognized and thanked the peace officers who attended, along with the outstanding number of United States military veterans and educators. He spoke about his view for Texas, noting that he was attempting to push a bill through that would make sure law enforcement officers all had access to bullet proof vests. He also discussed education, school choice, Texas water rights, and gendered restrooms. Additionally, he touched on an issue of special importance to Trinity I.S.D. Superintendent Dr. John Kaufman – rural school funding.
Carl Dyer and Corey Rapp were honorees at the event, and recognized for their roles in helping the county become a Republican territory, as they both served as Republican Party chairmen during the transition.
Senator Robert Nichols, State Representative Trent Ashby, Trinity County Judge Doug Page, Trinity County District Attorney Bennie Schiro, Trinity County Attorney Joe Bell, Trinity County Treasurer Bob Dockens, District Clerk Kristen Rayford, Tax Assessor/Collector Lindy Warren, Trinity Mayor Pro-Tem Wayne Huffman, and Trinity County Republican Party Chairman Scott Womack were all present.
The president of the Trinity County Republican Women, Jo Ann Kennedy, said the county’s transition from Democrat to Republican is proof that every vote counts, and that Trinity County voters are significant in Texas.
For more information about Governor Greg Abbott, visit gov.texas.gov.
On Saturday, March 11, Trinity County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Mitchell responded to a hit and run in Hawg Heaven Subdivision in Trinity County at 1:25 a.m. Upon arrival, he found one deceased individual at the scene. Mitchell arrested Kurt Wangler, 40, for third-degree felony Driving While Intoxicated (third or more), third-degree felony Failure to Stop and Render Aid Injury/Death, and second-degree felony Intoxicated Manslaughter with a Vehicle. This is an open investigation and additional details will be available at a later time.
On March 18, 2017, Governor Greg Abbott will be visiting Trinity County to speak at the Trinity Community Center. This marks the first time in the county's history that Trinity has been visited by a sitting Governor. This also marks the fulfillment of a long-standing promise on the part of Governor Abbott, made during his initial run for office, when he vowed to personally visit whatever county had the most precincts with a Republican majority. The event, also acting as a celebration of the first time in 200 years that Trinity County became a Republican territory, was delayed multiple times due to repeated schedule conflicts.
The event, hosted by the Trinity County Republican party, will take place on a Saturday evening, with dinner being provided. Standard tickets are available for $35, and tickets that will get attendees a picture with the Governor are available for $50. Tables seating eight can also be purchased. Seating is limited and all tickets will be sold in advance, so interested parties are encouraged to call Scott Womack (936-204-3111) or JoAnn Kennedy (936-215-0093) for more information and to purchase tickets.
Trinity County law enforcement conducted another meth bust on February 15, at Nogales Prarie.
The warrant was executed by Constable Reggie Olive, Sheriff Woody Wallace, and several Deputies with Trinity County Sheriff's Office, on a private residence at 303 Evie Davidson Road. Despite having been forewarned of the raid several hours beforehand, residents within the home were caught off-guard by the bust and placed into custody after materials typical of meth houses were found within the residence, including scales for weighing drugs, baggies for distribution, and more than 4 grams of methamphetamine.
Three suspects were arrested as a result of these findings, two men and one woman; 49-year-old Edd Terill, 28-year-old Allen Gober, and 44-year-old Ginger Terrill, each charged with first-degree felony Manufacturing/Delivery of a Controlled Substance.
Upon questioning, information was acquired from the apprehended suspects that the Sheriff's office claims will lead to further arrests, possibly in the Apple Springs area. "Of course they gave us up their supplier too," said Sheriff Woody Wallace in a video posted to the Trinity County Sheriff's Office Facebook page, "so we'll be getting a warrant for him."