Daily Progress, Jacksonville, TX

August 26, 2013

Trio arrested on drug charges after six-month police investigation

Ben Tinsley
Jacksonville Daily Progress

JACKSONVILLE — Three men characterized by authorities as street-level drug dealers were arrested and jailed Friday at the conclusion of an intensive, six-month police investigation, authorities said.

The men were taken into custody as Jacksonville police served warrants to them at a house in the 800 block of Wilkins. They are Orenthial James Crear, 34, of Jacksonville; Avery Tilley Scales, 17, of Jacksonville; and Randall Romane Dewberry, 31, of Athens, jail records show.

Police were still conducting interviews and working on reports Friday. Crear, Scales and Dewberry were expected to remain in Jacksonville jail until arraigned Saturday, then probably transferred to Cherokee County Jail.

The specific charges the three now face were still being worked out Friday. But they are expected to revolve around narcotics sales and possession, said Jacksonville Police Chief Reece Daniel.

A firearm also was recovered during the arrests, and one of the suspects probably will be charged with possession of it, officials said. According to initial reports, the firearm is a .22 rifle built to look like an AK-47.

Although the suspects are believed to be fairly low on the criminal food chain, the impact their apprehension will have on drug traffic is very significant,  Daniel explained Friday.

“We've taken out some big dealers over the past two years, and this brings us up to 45 of them,” Daniel said. “We'd been tracking these three for at least six months. These are street level crack dealers, who sell both crack and (marijuana).”

 Daniel said the execution of the warrants took a lot of planning. The three arrested men were known runners excellent at escaping on foot.

Daniel said to counteract this, three officers were specifically recruited for their sprinting abilities.

When the suspects tried to flee as expected when warrants were served, the sprinting officers were right up on them, reports show.

“They caught all three of them,” the chief said.