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Electricity theft lead to drug bust

by Emily Waldrep

Deputies were dispatched to a residence in Ivanhoe on May 8 at approximately 10:30 a.m., where they met with officials of Sam Houston Electric Company in reference to a home's residents stealing electric service on 17th Street.

Deputy Jeremy Byrum of the Tyler County Sheriff's Department met with a woman at the home, identified as Tonya Church and a male, identified as Dewey Eddins.

According to Sheriff Bryan Weatherford of the Tyler County Sheriff's Department, Byrum then obtained consent to search the couples home.

Once inside, he discovered a glass bong, a device associated with smoking illegal narcotics. He also located a set of digital scales that are commonly used to weigh narcotics.

By the end of the search, Byrum had confiscated several items of drug paraphernalia, along with 10 plastic bags of methamphetamines that weighed approximately 9.2 grams.

The substance was field-tested positive for methamphetamine.

Both Church and Eddins were charged with possession of a controlled substance, penalty group 1, with intent to deliver.

Sheriff Weatherford reminds Tyler County citizens that they can now report any suspected narcotic activity in the county online at www.tylercountysheriff.com and click on "report narcotics." All reports online are anonymous.

Warren man dead, another injured after shooting

by Emily Waldrep

A Warren man is dead after a shooting that occurred on Thursday, May 9 near County Road 1840 and FM 2827.

At approximately 11 a.m the Tyler County Sheriff's department received two 9-1-1 calls simultaneously. One caller reported hearing shots next door to her residence, and the second caller, identified as Peggy Dean, reported that two people had been shot at her residence.

DPS Trooper Michael Priest arrived on scene approximately nine minutes after the 9-1-1 calls were made and made contact with Peggy Dean.

According to Tyler County Sheriff Bryan Weatherford, Dean told police that her estranged husband, identified as Gary Dean, had broken into her home with a sledgehammer by breaking the glass on the patio doors and shot her boyfriend, Billy Stanford, in the shoulder. Peggy Dean then retrieved a gun from her home and shot her estranged husband, Gary Dean, four times. Gary Dean was pronounced dead at the scene.

The Sheriff's Department, along with the Texas Department of Public Safety and the Tyler County Constable's Office Precinct One all responded to the scene.

Numerous items of evidence were collected at the scene, including digital video surveillance equipment. All indications lead law enforcement to believe that Mr. Dean entered the residence forcefully with the intent to cause harm.

Dogwood EMS treated Stanford at the scene until he was airlifted to Herman Hospital in Houston. He is in stable condition.

Justice of the Peace Trisher Ford authorized an autopsy on Gary Dean, and more information will be provided as it becomes available.

All evidence compiled will be presented to the grand jury. No arrests have been made at this time.

Alabama-Coushatta swear in law enforcement officers

Swearing In Ceremony—From left, Police Chief Antonio Ford and Captain William Jerry are sworn in by Alabama-Coushatta Tribal Council Chairman Kyle Williams (back to camera). One year after the Alabama-Coushatta Tribal Council hired their first police chief, they swore in nine fully certified Texas law enforcement officers that will make up their police department and invited the community in to tour their new police department Saturday.

The Alabama-Coushatta Tribal Police Department began operations Jan. 1 but they have just finished the move into their new offices that were expanded behind the original Tribal Security building.

At the ceremony Chief Antonio Ford thanked his staff and others in the community who helped get the new department going.

"We're started and we're going to grow to different heights and other levels.

I would like to thank all the people, the tribal council and the community that has supported this endeavor," Ford said. "It's an honor for me, again, to be standing here, to have this opportunity and to believe in me as an individual and to bring this police department into existence."

"I want to thank the sheriff for bringing his people out and help us get our software installed and things of that nature. Some people would have been selfish and said, 'No, that's your issue. You take care of it.' You've been a blessing to us and we hope that you continue our partnership as far as continue to be an asset to the entire county. To my staff, I appreciate all the hard work that you have put into it. We're going to continue moving forward.

Tribal Council Chairman Kyle Williams asked Capt. William Jerry to read the law enforcement Code of Ethics before he administered the oath of office to the officers as the Tribal Council members, Sheriff Kenneth Hammack and District Attorney Lee Hon and many tribal members and officers' families looked on.

Certified officers with the Tribal police department are: Chief Antonio Ford, Captain William Jerry, Lieutenant Deborah Richardson, Sergeant Makesha Young, Patrolman Craig Battise, Patrolman Garett Blake. Patrolman Christopher Darden. Patrolman John Sikes and Patrolman K-9 Unit Zachary Williams.

Following the ceremony Ford said the department will focus on delivering quality customer service to the community — not only to the Alabama-Coushatta Tribe, but to Polk and Tyler Counties.

"We will treat all individuals with dignity and respect," Ford said.

As chief of the department, Ford said he sees one of his tasks is to train these new officers — especially since they come from different cultures — the purpose and meaning of this department.

The Alabama-Coushatta Police Department has the unique role of enforcing not only state and federal laws, but also tribal laws, which are similar to city ordinances, many of which are enforceable only on tribal members in a tribal court.

Ford is also careful to point out that tribal land is not a place for non-Native Americans to escape from justice.

If you have outstanding warrants or are disturbing the peace, long arm of the law will reach out and touch you on the reservation.

"Although the Alabama-Coushatta Police Department has the option of working with the U.S. Attorney's Office and filing cases in federal court, for all intents and purposes, we intend to work with the Polk County District Attorney's Office and Lee Hon, who has been extremely helpful in our efforts to create the police department.

Walmart theft suspect caught after auto chase

by Emily Waldrep

On February 14 of this year, an unknown person entered the Woodville Wal-Mart, stole $400 worth of sporting goods and assaulted a Wal-mart employee, turning the burglary into a felony robbery charge. Officers were able to get his description, but couldn't locate the man.

According to Mike McCulley of the Woodville Police Department, the individual responsible for the crime has been arrested after a 75-mile car chase from the Jasper Wal-Mart to Anahuac, Texas.

McCulley says that Jasper Police were dispatched to the Jasper Wal-mart at about 3:30 p.m. May 2. An asset protection employee at the store let the Officers know that an a person was removing sporting good items from the packages and hiding them in his pants. Asset Protection attempted to make contact with him as he exited the store, but he got into a vehicle and sped away. The vehicle was pursued by Jasper Police Department, beginning on Highway 63 toward Zavalla from Jasper. Several units were involved in the pursuit.

The vehicle disregarded the intersections of Hwy 63 and FM 777 and Hwy 63 and FM 255 and then sped past a school bus that was in the process of dropping off children, traveling in speeds over 100 miles per hour.

When the vehicle arrived it Zavalla, the driver turned on FM 147 North and crossed lake Sam Rayburn. The pursuit continued across the lake, through Broaddus and into San Augustine county, where he was apprehended after a short foot chase.

The pursuit spanned Jasper, Angelina and San Augustine counties and included assistance from several agencies including Jasper Police Department, Zavalla Police Department, Angelina County Constable's office, US Forest Service, San Augustine County Sheriff's Department, and DPS.

One thousand dollars worth of sporting good items, including fishing reels, were found in the vehicle.

The driver was identified as Vaughn Paul Logino, age 53 of Broaddus.

He was charged with Evading Arrest or Detention with a Motor Vehicle, a third degree felony, Reckless Driving, and he also had two prior theft convictions, so he was charged with felony theft.

Additional charges within other counties are pending.

Observant neighbor leads to Hillister arrests

by Emily Waldrep

On May 1 at approximately 3 p.m., Corporal Tony Reynolds was dispatched to County Road 4455 in Hillister to a burglary in progress.

According to Tyler County Sheriff Bryan Weatherford, several officers responded along with Deputy Reynolds. The dispatcher advised deputies that the caller reported that two subjects, later identified as Craig Foster, 40, and his wife Tamika Foster, 36, attempted to steal some belongings from the house across the street.

The caller, Denise Stevens, reported that she heard dogs barking at the house across the street. She knew that no one was home, and observed a male subject crouching in the woods on the property. As she got closer, she personally recognized Foster. She saw that he was dragging an object and she yelled for him to stop, which caused him to drop the item. Shortly after, the white dodge pulled up, and Craig Foster left the scene with Tamika Foster, the driver.

Deputy Brian Seales and Deputy Troy Costello of the Tyler County Sheriff's Department later located the vehicle and the two suspects on County Road 4490 and conducted a traffic stop.

The item that Craig Foster dropped was a horse saddle.

Deputies contacted the owners of the home and learned the saddle was kept in the shed in the backyard, and that the Foster's did not have permission to use the saddle or to be on the property.

Craig Foster later admitted to being at the residence and both Craig and Tamika Foster were charged with Burglary of a Building, which is a state jail felony.

"This is what I have been saying since I took office," Weatherford said. "We've got to have the help of good, outstanding citizens of the county to help with finding the criminals and making these arrests. These arrests wouldn't have been possible if people wouldn't have been looking out for their friends and neighbors."

Courthouse Restoration Project progresses

On April 12, 2013, the Commissioners Court voted to approve a project needed for the Courthouse Restoration Project. Architect John Volz of Austin is scheduled to begin detailed measurements and an archeological survey/study of the building in early May.

Commissioners Court also approved a request of the Friends of the Courthouse, an arm of the Tyler County Historical Commission, to fund brochures of information and mail-outs to local citizens and others originally from Tyler County who, after receiving information on the courthouse project, may be interested in making donations.

The Friends of the Courthouse is an arm of the TCHC with a mission to: (A) get information about the Courthouse project out to the public and (B) raise donations from citizens, groups and corporations to assist in funding the project.

On Wednesday, May 15, the commissioners will meet in a workshop to discuss funding for the Courthouse Restoration Project.

Bess Graham of the Texas Historical Commission, John Volz, architect, and a Houston based field agent representative of the National Trust Foundation will be present for the meeting and provide possible funding resources to be considered for the Courthouse Restoration/Preservation Project.

All citizens are welcome to attend the meeting.