Tyler officers honored with Eagle Award

The SE Texas Record May 23, 2007, 9:00am

Press release from the U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Texas

U.S. Attorney John L. Ratcliffe presented the Eagle Award to a Tyler police officer and a federal agent for their efforts to crack down on methamphetamine distribution in the Eastern District of Texas.

In a ceremony held May 22 at the Tyler Police Department, Special Agent Brandon Chenault of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and Tyler Police Department Detective Scott Bradley, currently assigned to the Drug Enforcement Administration, were presented with the U.S. Attorney's Office "Eagle" award. The award was presented in appreciation for these agents' dedication in serving and protecting the community.

According to Ratcliffe, the Eagle award is one of the highest honors given by the United States Attorney's Office. "This award honors these agents' exceptional efforts and hard work. They both consistently exhibit a degree of professionalism in keeping with the highest standards of law enforcement."

These agents led an investigation, dubbed "Operation ICEBOX," beginning in October 2004 into the distribution of "ice" methamphetamine in East Texas, Louisiana, and Florida. The investigation resulted in 22 undercover drug purchases, the purchase and seizure of at least 15 handguns, the seizure of at least four pounds of "ice" methamphetamine as well as marijuana and pharmaceutical drugs, and the seizure of three vehicles and a safe containing approximately $300,000 cash.

A 26-count federal indictment was returned in March charging 19 co-defendants with federal charges. Another indictment of 8 additional defendants was returned on February 6, 2007.

Thus far in Operation ICEBOX, there have been 23 convictions and $1.95 million in forfeiture judgments, and the seizure of over $400,000 cash, cars, firearms, and a house.

The evidence presented at the trial of three defendants indicated that the defendants and others used sources of methamphetamine from Mexico to develop a distribution organization in Tyler. These defendants and others engaged in significant methamphetamine distribution in Tyler, Shreveport, La., Alabama and as far as Miami, Florida. The distribution involved hundreds of pounds of methamphetamine, thousands of ecstasy (MDMA) tablets and other pharmaceutical drugs.

This case continues to be investigated by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, the United States Marshals Service, the Texas Department of Public Safety, the Tyler Police Department, the Smith County Sheriff's Office, and the Henderson Police Department.

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