DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) — Officials with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Texas say a messaging app help them make a dent in the drug trade and was crucial in the arrest of nine alleged members of the “Hogg Life” gang. The defendants, who were indicted June 9, have been charged with an array of federal crimes.
When the suspects were arrested on June 11 officials say they found a variety of drugs including bulk marijuana, hallucinogenic mushrooms, and oxycontin at the separate locations.READ MORE: Killer 6 Foot Cobra Possibly On The Loose In Grand Prairie, Police Say
The seizure of those drugs, guns and nearly $20,000 in cash followed the execution of a search warrant served in May, when law enforcement seized more than 125 pounds of bulk marijuana, THC products, and psilocybin products, and more than $63,000 in cash.
The investigation began in 2018, when multiple anonymous callers reported interstate drug trafficking to the Amarillo Police Department. At least one tipster indicated that the alleged traffickers regularly posted about their illicit dealings on Snapchat.
In 2020, a cooperating defendant told police that a group calling itself “Hogg Life,: a Crips gang, trafficked in marijuana. The person said dealers in Texas mailed money to a supplier in California in exchanged for drugs, which were shipped to them through the Postal Service and FedEx.READ MORE: For First Time In Nation's History, U.S. Customs Agents Intercept Rare, Invasive Beetle At Texas-Mexico Border
The witness also confirmed that the operation was facilitated through Snapchat and identified several dealers’ accounts.
The government infiltrated the group when an undercover agent posing as a buyer initiated Snapchat conversations with drug dealers in Amarillo. Videos and images captured from their accounts show the cultivation, packaging, and advertisement of large quantities of marijuana, mushrooms, and other THC products.
The local “Hogg Life” gang members allegedly sold marijuana and THC products with their own brand name, “No Boof.”
Both the supplier and the dealer allegedly flaunted their drug proceeds, frequently posting about luxury travel and dining, exotic vehicles, designer clothing and jewelry, and adult entertainment.MORE NEWS: 'Lockdowns Are Wrong': Texas Gov. Abbott Reaffirms No More State Shutdowns, Mandates During Pandemic
If convicted, the defendants face up to 40 years in prison.