FLOWER MOUND (CBSDFW.COM) – More than a dozen teenagers and young adults in the Flower Mound area are in custody after being indicted on either drug related or gun violations. Most are accused of conspiring to sell heroin.
A total of 17 people, many of them teenagers, have been charged, accused of conspiring to distribute more than one kilo of heroin around Flower Mound.
The investigation began last year after three young people died, within five months of each other, from heroin overdoses.
Captain Wess Griffin, with the Flower Mound Police Department, says after the deaths officials knew there was a bigger issue and they asked the federal government to help.
“When we start seeing that kind of usage and that kind of activity, and we start seeing overdose deaths, that’s definitely an indicator that there’s a problem,” said Griffin.
In addition to Flower Mound police, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) were involved in the nearly yearlong investigation.
The DEA says it first got a tip about the drug problem in Flower Mound from a parent.
While abuse of any drug can be serious, Griffin says in some ways heroin abuse is unique. “The fact of the matter is heroin is so dangerous, that there’s two different kinds of users,” he said. “There’s the users that are able to use it and get over their addiction, which is a long hard struggle, and then there’s the users that will use until they die.”
James Capra, the special agent in charge of the DEA’s Dallas field office, says this case stood out. “In a nearly 25 year career, probably one of the first times where I’ve seen a network like this.”
Capra says this if the first time he’s seen a drug network of alleged abusers and distributers tis young based in a middle to upper middle class suburb. “Guns for drugs, sex for drugs, you name it, some of these defendants were involved in this type of activity.”
The 12 defendants listed below are alleged to have conspired to distribute more than 100 grams of heroin in the Flower Mound area.
If convicted, they could face up to 40 years in federal prison.
Sarah Hutcheson, 18, of Highland Village;
Nicholas A. Parker-Vanalstyne, 20, of Flower Mound;
Csaba Zoltan Bazsa, 19, of Lewisville;
Kevin Lee Oates, 38, of Irving;
Brendan Michael Jackson, 19, of Flower Mound;
Cody Ray Jones, 20, of Highland Village;
Jacob Andrew Haley, 20, of Corinth;
Matthew Curtis Anderson, 21, of Lewisville;
Anthony Edward Cathlina, 20, of Flower Mound;
Taylor Nicole Lane, 19, of Grapevine;
Travis Ryan Neel, 20, of Flower Mound;
Alexandre David Ward, 20, of Flower Mound
The heroin investigation also led to the indictment of five other people for gun and drug violations.
Joseph Hoffman, 19, of Flower Mound, pled guilty to possession with intent to distribute heroin, which led to the death of an individual. Scott Schmalholz, 21, of Flower Mound, pled guilty to transferring a firearm to Hoffman, knowing it would for drug trafficking.
Adam Michael Evans, 20, of Flower Mound, was indicted and charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm. Travis Clark Tucker, 23, of Denton, was indicted and charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm.
James Riley Greenwood, 23, of Flower Mound, was indicted and charged with making false statements to federal agents.
All of those arrested are from middle class families in the Flower Mound area, but Griffin says there is drug use in all communities. “Drugs are one of those things that know no socioeconomic boundaries.”
While they have made numerous arrests, their investigation continues to determine if anybody will face charges in connection with the overdose deaths.