|Cumby cocaine bust may be town’s biggest|
|Faith Huffman | News-Telegram News Editor|
Jan. 19, 2007 - A man claiming to be a retired correctional officer was arrested Thursday after Cumby police made what is believed to be that town's biggest cocaine bust ever.
Cumby Police Department Officer Charlie Walker seized 10 kilograms — or 22 pounds — of cocaine and arrested retired Connecticut correctional officer Darrell Devane Mickey, 41, of Springfield, Mass., on a first-degree felony possession of cocaine charge.
At 2:25 a.m. Thursday, Walker stopped a Jeep Liberty with Tennessee license plates traveling too close behind an 18-wheeler on Interstate 30.
Mickey told Walker he was a Connecticut corrections officer, displaying his badge as proof. He later said he was a retired officer.
Mickey changed his account of why he was traveling through Hopkins County more than once. At one point he said he had traveled overnight to Dallas to see his brother in a track meet. He later said he was visiting his father in Little Rock, Ark. He also said he was en route to Little Rock from Kentucky.
�His story just made no sense at all,� Walker said Thursday, noting that the man�s hands were visibly shaking �real bad� when handing over his driver�s license.
Walker said Mickey also lied about his criminal history. Acting on his suspicions, Walker asked to search the vehicle. When Mickey refused, Walker called for Hopkins County Sheriff’s Office Cpl. Eddie Moon to bring his canine partner, Jack.
The dog gave a positive alert on the rear luggage compartment. The officers recovered three “huge suitcases large enough to hold enough luggage for two weeks."
The cocaine was wrapped inside the clothes, encased in duct tape and clear cellophane. Officers recovered six packaged "keys" of cocaine and eight packages weighing half a kilogram each. Officers believe Mickey picked up the substance in Dallas and was transporting it to Massachusetts.
�I believe this is by far the largest bust of this kind in Cumby Police Department history," Walker said.
Mickey was arrested at 3:13 a.m. for possession of a controlled substance. He was arraigned later Thursday morning and remained in the county jail Friday morning in lieu of bond.
Texas Department of Public Safety Trooper Joe Hogue and Sulphur Springs Police Department Sgt. Jason Ricketson also assisted with the traffic stop.
Two other traffic stops in the county this week netted about 95 pounds of marijuana and three arrests.
An early morning traffic stop Friday resulted an El Paso pair going to jail on marijuana possession charges. Trooper Hogue was credited with those arrests.
Hogue stopped a 2002 Ford Focus for a traffic violation on I-30 east at 12:30 a.m. Friday. David Flores, 26, was identified as the driver and Yevette Midrid Lozano, 27, the passenger and owner of the car.
�Hogue noted Flores to appear �fatigued.� Both Flores and Lozano told the trooper they were traveling to Texas A&M to the college campus,� but didn�t know where A&M was located. Their account of their trip was �very suspicious,� so Hogue asked to search the car. Lozano agreed.
The trooper found 94 pounds of marijuana located in a false floor in the trunk and a false compartment in the bumper. Both were charged with possession of more than 50 pounds but less than 2,000 pounds of marijuana.
Another stop made in Sulphur Springs by city officers resulted in a felony arrest and marijuana seizure.
Patrol Officer Mark Estes, assisted by Special Crimes Unit investigators, arrested Jeremiah Laray Cooper, 33, of Sulphur Springs at 4:55 p.m. Wednesday in the 1300 block of Church Street for possession of marijuana.
Estes stopped Cooper for not wearing his seat belt. When asked by officers, he admitted he didn’t have a valid driver’s license.
When SCU Sgt. Harold McClure, an experienced narcotics officer, arrived to assist Estes, he detected an odor of marijuana, and saw evidence of marijuana use. The officers searched the Mitsubishi Outlander, and a large, clear storage bag containing 29 smaller bags filled with marijuana were recovered. Cooper was arrested and taken to the county jail, where he was released Thursday after posting a $5,000 bond.
The marijuana weighed less than a pound, and on the street would generate $600 to $700 on the street. The SCU officers noted that while that does not seem like a lot, it is significant.
"Although it may not seem like a large quantity of marijuana ... it was packaged to distribute within the city of Sulphur Springs,” SCU Lt. Ron Plaxco said of the stop and subsequent arrest.
The main goal of SCU, formed in April 2006, was to curtail street level narcotics sales within the Sulphur Springs and Hopkins County community. Wednesday’s arrest affirms the continuing progress of SCU toward meeting that goal, he noted.