Drug ring busted

Published 12:00 am Thursday, June 9, 2005

The Selma Times-journal

Thursday, local and state law enforcement agents ended a year-long investigation and undercover operation.

Ignoring private property signs and custom-made iron bars on windows and doors, they entered several homes and brought down an allegedly major Dallas County drug operation that had spread across several other counties.

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“Through a joint venture of several agencies, we executed several search warrants in Dallas County resulting in several arrests,” said Sheriff Harris Huffman. “This is going to be a pretty good blow to the drug trafficking in the Dallas County/Orrville/Beloit area, but we are not through yet.”

A total of four homes were searched – one in Beloit and three more in Orville.

Arrested were Wilbur Jackson, his mother Ema Lee Jackson, his brothers Wendell Jackson and Leedale Jackson, his girlfriend Vicki Jones, Willie “Hunch” Lewis, A. C. Atkins, Leroy Bryant, Spencer Butler and Jermaine Collins – all of Orrville and Beloit.

Wilbur Jackson, Ema Jackson, Wendell Jackson, Jones and Lewis were federally indicted and charged with unlawful distribution of a controlled substance. The others received the same charges, but were indicted by the state.

“Once we made the cases, we gathered all of the materials and presented it to the DEA,” said Andrew Arrington. “They reviewed it, turned it over to the U.S. Attorney’s Office and it was placed on the Federal Grand Jury in Mobile. The Federal Grand Jury in Mobile heard the evidence and issued the indictment.”

Arrington, the Assistant District Attorney and head of the Drug Task Force for the Fourth Judicial Court, said that they could have been charged in the state court, but due to the volume of drugs that they were selling, a stronger response was needed.

“We’ve had so many complaints about this individual (Wilbur Jackson),” he said. “It’s amazing how people in the public know who the drug dealers are. Chances are we know who they are also, but it’s difficult to get inside and get in there to make the cases.”

“Mr. Jackson has been dealing in the Orrville area for years, and he’s just hard to catch,” Arrington said. “We’ve sent agents in there before and he wouldn’t sell to them or told them that he didn’t have anything and to come back later. So, we’ve been working on this for a while.”

Arrington said the Dallas County Sheriff’s Department, the Alabama Bureau of Investigations (ABI), the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), the Alabama Department of Public Safety, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the Drug Task Force and the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board (ABC) Enforcement Division assisted with the effort.

“ABI played a key role,” he said. “The tactical team is with the Alabama Department of Public Safety. They are a very professional, very skilled force. Their job is to make a fast entry, secure an area and turn it over to the locals. That’s exactly what they did.”

Seized during the raid were six vehicles, several thousand dollars in cash and two firearms. No drugs, however, were found at any of the homes.

“The way that these people operate, they usually keep their narcotics in a location away from their own property,” Arrington said.

He said that procedures to seize the mobile home and the land are underway.At press time, several more individuals connected to this case were scheduled to be arrested.