TYLER, Texas – A 41-year-old Gilmer, Texas man has been sentenced to federal prison following a lengthy investigation into a synthetic drug operation in the Eastern District of Texas, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Brit Featherston today.
Jeremy Chad Tidwell pleaded guilty on Nov. 17, 2016, to conspiracy to commit offenses against the United States and was sentenced to 60 months in federal prison today by U.S. District Judge Ron Clark. Assets to be forfeited by the defendant included U.S. currency and bank accounts totaling over $1.2 million, real property, precious metals, two airplanes, 6 automobiles, other vehicles, and firearms.
On Dec. 3, 2014, a combined task force of federal, state and local law enforcement executed federal arrest warrants and search warrants in Longview, Texas as a result of an investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Tyler Task Force. In April 2014, law enforcement agencies, initiated an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation into a synthetic drug trafficking organization based in the Gregg County, Texas area. This investigation involved extensive surveillance and controlled purchases of controlled substances, controlled substance analogues, and drug paraphernalia.
The operation resulted in the arrest of Tidwell, his wife, Shanna Peek Tidwell, 38, of Gilmer, and Tidwell’s brother, Brian Tidwell, 45, of Arlington, Texas. Four retail stores, all located in Longview, were searched as part of the law enforcement operation. Over $1.2 million, including in excess of $450,000 in U.S. currency, multiple vehicles, and large quantities of synthetic drugs were seized.
The defendants were indicted in a superseding indictment by a federal grand jury on Feb. 19, 2015. Charges included conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute Schedule I controlled substances and controlled substance analogues, conspiracy to commit offenses against the United States, conspiracy to sell and offer for sale drug paraphernalia, conspiracy to commit money laundering, and maintaining a place for the distribution of a controlled substance or controlled substance analogue.
This case is the result of an extensive joint investigation by the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF). The principal mission of the OCDETF program is to identify, disrupt and dismantle the most serious drug trafficking, weapons trafficking and money laundering organizations, and those primarily responsible for the nation’s illegal drug supply.
The DEA Task Force in Tyler includes officers from the Gregg County Sheriff’s Office, Henderson County Sheriff’s Office, Van Zandt County Sheriff’s Office, Kilgore Police Department, Smith County Sheriff’s Office, and Upshur County Sheriff’s Office, as well as DEA Special Agents.
Other agencies assisting in the joint investigative effort included the U.S. Attorney’s Office – Eastern District of Texas, DEA Tyler Task Force, Gregg County Sheriff’s Office, Gregg County Organized Drug Enforcement Unit (CODE), Longview Police Department, Upshur County Sheriff’s Office, Kilgore Police Department, Lakeport Police Department, Gladewater Police Department, Arkansas Attorney General’s Office, and the U.S. Marshals Service.