In 2009, a small East Texas town found itself thrust into national headlines after CNN ran a segment on Anderson Cooper’s 360 reporting on the high number of traffic stops. These stops all resulted in the seizure of large sums of money.
But that wasn’t the real story; there was a deeper level of crime and corruption, and even a mysterious murder. The money’s seizure and use for law enforcement purposes by city and county governments are legal, by Texas law, but in 2009, in Tenaha, the frequency was suspicious.
With the help of the Texas Rangers and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, the FBI corroborated evidence of wiretapping, drugs, illegal guns, child pornography and elected officials breaking into an evidence room, stealing drugs and selling them.
It’s the FBI’s No. 1 criminal priority, and it has nothing to do with terrorism, but those accused of committing the crime will often terrorize their communities, and most people don’t even realize what’s happening. In South Texas, crooked officials are keeping FBI agents very busy. Getting them back into East Texas is the problem and Skip Ensley along with a team of others with vested interest pursued a lengthy investigation to do just that.
We compiled a lengthy investigation and several tote boxes of evidence. We submitted a formal report to not only the FBI but also the Texas Attorney General. These were not tricky cases either. The problem we believe is the local authorities have gotten so caught up in corruption they cannot get out of it. In some cases, there is outside influence from what he believes to be Mexican Drug Cartel.
“When I see the abundancy of meth users in public in broad daylight I know exactly what is going on. I have seen this sort of thing before.”
“Unfortunately, corruption is a growing business here in Texas, so we have had to move around from some of our usual procedures to obtain relevant information and evidence and not be compromised. We’ve certainly put a laser focus on it here because we believe it is a problem, but it’s not unique just to here.”
Small local banks in rural communities have become havens for not only hiding ill-gotten money but also laundering it. Local sheriff departments have started to protect and control the illegal drug trade.
Let me point out Palestine PD for example. They released a story recently in the Palestine Herald about how they cannot afford to combat drug dealers, so they are merely running them out of town. Ok, that is total garbage. Why might you ask? Because with the forfeiture laws mostly passed in the 1990’s they make money from busting drug dealers. They also get grant monies and other forms of income. Hell, they just busted a bunch of quasi-gambling joint’s in Anderson County and wrote in the paper how they are using the money they seize to pay for drones. By the way, did the owners ever get charged with a crime? No. The only one I know of who complained about the cops robbing him suffered a home invasion and a physical beating that put him in the hospital. I cannot seem to make the FBI understand that the corruption here is just as bad as it is along the Mexican Border.
Another thing of interest is who raided the quasi-gambling joints. It was not the Anderson County Sheriffs Deputies. It was Tarrant County. What were guys from Fort Worth doing down in Palestine?
Now, getting back to the drug dealers. If you know who they are to run out of town, why don’t you arrest them? I suspect it is because they make a lot of money for those at the helm of the ship.
In one of the murder cases we have been investigating, the brother of the daughter who was second in the family to die from a single gunshot wound lives in Palestine. He is very tied in with the clique running things around town and at the topic of controversy with some of the things they are trying to pull on some local citizens. His daughter was a meth addict. She co habituated a local dope house in town even though her father bought her a lovely home next to the country club. So when she dies, she is laying in the hallway coughing up blood. Her daughter who lived with her and had a small child never called 911 until the next day.
Now a JP comes out and orders an autopsy. While he is there, an officer walks through the house making notes and photographs. From all accounts to include family this woman never drank alcohol. Authorities then send her corpse to Tyler. Not the Dallas Medical Examiner as is policy but to a to a private lab. They then report she has alcoholic hepatitis while a Palestine homicide detective is there in Tyler while the autopsy is being performed. Why are you sending a homicide detective to Palestine to over see the autopsy of a drunk? Is the detective a medical doctor?
A second officer who happens to be the same homicide detective went to the home before the autopsy was complete and stated he saw liquor bottles next to the woman’s bed. That would not be so interesting had I not spoken with the other cop who denies it and took some photos. Those photos no longer exist. I managed to interview some of her friends and a cousin all of whom corroborated she did not drink. The woman who ran the dope house? It was across the street from a city cops home. You cannot tell me they did not know.
In addition to that, her father whom is a suspect in these deaths has a group of very interesting colleagues. His brother in law is a pharmacist. Many years ago, this pharmacist was stopped and arrested in Lampasas County with a significant amount of cocaine, several kilos. He ended up going to prison but got paroled four years later, and then two years later he gets pardoned. When the sentence would have been over, he gets total clemency. All these years and I have never heard of anyone getting deals like that. The man got his pharmacy license back and runs a pharmacy today. Interesting to say the least.
Meanwhile, the DEA arrested his ex Brother-in-law but later drops the charges. From what we could find out he gave up some influential people. Many believe he is involved in money laundering and supplying chemicals for meth labs today. Who do you think is laundering the money and making the meth? Again it’s a neon flashing light.
Now over in Leon County, the Palestine woman’s grandfather was killed by a single gunshot wound also. The interesting thing about him was from the medical records obtained through the Veterans Administration he had several herniated disks. It would have been entirely impossible for him to have shot himself in the back of the head with a 6-inch revolver. No autopsy, no police report, no scene photographs. The first cop on the scene requested an investigation and said it was a homicide and he allegedly shoots himself several months later.
The woman in Centerville you know all about that case. Well, that is what happened to her father and her niece. When someone has family members that stand in the way of them obtaining a fortune these things can happen. How hard is it to bribe local officials who in my opinion were likely involved before it had occurred. I had had more than one phone call from a source requesting to be kept anonymous telling me that this person said that or this woman was sleeping with the murdered woman’s husband before and after her death and bragged about having her expensive jewelry. I suspect many more know the truth but are afraid to speak up.
After NBC did the story and went out to the woman’s home her widowed husband spoke with them but refused to allow them to record audio. They ended up throwing him under the bus anyway and he turns up dead less than a week after it aired. One of his nephews worked for the Normangee PD and another small town police department. Normangee PD, that’s the two cop department that two former chiefs have gone to prison. From all accounts he was a dirty cop and now he works at Walmart in Palestine.
The banker who hung himself is another piece of the puzzle. The SEC indicted his colleague for a Ponzi scheme involving over 80 million dollars. They were using these rural local banks to hide a lot of the money. Well, the man is indicted and then sentenced, but approximately $40 million is still missing. This local guy buys an old bank in Oakwood with 130 accounts, nothing more. He injects around 30 million dollars into it. Arranges a sale to a foreign company and then goes into his barn and hangs himself. Seriously who does that?
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