Ring dealt meth, carried out area burglaries
by Carla Noah Stutsman
A cooperative effort among law enforcement agencies has resulted in shutting down a significant drug and theft operation with substantial local ties.
Since mid-October 2012, law enforcement agencies across northwest Tarrant and northeast Parker Counties investigated a rash of burglaries, thefts, drug activity and even a death one incident at a time, as they occurred.
Late in March, however, authorities began to realize there were complex relationships among at least 16 individuals involved in various aspects of the crimes being investigated.
As a result of the ensuing investigation into the criminal activities of those 16 individuals, 13 have so far been arrested and charged with crimes ranging from unauthorized use of a motor vehicle to burglary, forgery, manufacture and delivery of controlled substances (namely methamphetamine), and engaging in organized criminal activity.
Piecing it together
The tale unfolded as Azle police investigated burglaries at the Sears Store in the 600 block of Northwest Parkway and Dominos Pizza and Taco Casa, both on Boyd Road in Azle, as well as the theft of a 2007 Chevrolet Avalanche from a used car lot located on Pearson Lane in Azle.
Azle Detective Sgt. Kevin Rogers’ investigation led him to suspect Jimmy Earl Freeman, 50, of Azle, in those crimes. Freeman was arrested Feb. 28 and remains in the Parker County jail.
Meanwhile, Parker County Sheriff’s deputies and members of Parker County’s Fugitive Apprehension Strike Team (FAST) were developing information about some of Freeman’s associates.
Their investigation led them to James Carroll Mathews, 43, of Azle, who is suspected of being the ring leader or “boss” of an organization in which various members have stolen at least one semi-truck with trailer, several enclosed box-type trailers, ATM machines from a bank in Cool as well as a gentlemen’s club in north Fort Worth, and various tools from Morrison Supply in Weatherford.
Mathews was employed as a supervisor over the transportation division for Legacy Homes in the 4700 block of Mark IV Parkway in Fort Worth, according to investigators.
Additionally, Mathews is suspected of moving fairly large quantities of methamphetamine in the Parker County area via the individuals who worked for him.
Some of the individuals in the organization were paid with methamphetamine for the crimes they committed at Mathews’ behest, according to a probable cause warrant obtained from the office of Parker County Justice of the Peace Precinct 2, Kelly Green’s office.
Late in March, investigators with the Weatherford/ Parker County Special Crimes Unit (SCU) took the lead in the investigation after key investigators agreed the case appeared to fit the elements of the offense of engaging in organized criminal activity.
Of note among the individuals investigated: Coleman Wayne Hampton, who until recently was a substitute teacher for the Boyd ISD; John Earnest Carmane, 57, of Azle, owner of Boomtown Furniture on E. Highway 199 east of Springtown; and Timothy Jason McBride, 40, who died April 23 at Mathews’ residence in the 400 block of Walnut Creek Drive in Azle.
McBride’s death occurred just four days after search warrants were executed April 19 at the Walnut Creek address, at Carmane’s residence in the 200 block of Ashwood Drive in the Tanglewood addition just west of the Azle city limits and at a residence in the 700, block of Newfield Lane in Springtown.
McBride’s death has been ruled an accident due to ingestion of methamphetamine by the Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s Office.
A fourth search warrant was executed at the residence of Eddie Duane Lindsey in the 100 block of Dobbs Trail on April 20, one day after the first three search warrants were executed.
While executing the warrant, officers arrested Mathews – already a felon on parole – charging him with felon in possession of a firearm. A white enclosed box trailer reported stolen through the Fort Worth Police Department and valued at $3,000 was recovered at the location.
An earlier traffic stop on Mathews by Azle police had yielded 18 grams of methamphetamine and 0.3 grams of cocaine along with $2,110 cash. Mathews was taken into custody by Azle police, who later discovered an additional 57 grams of methamphetamine he admitted to hiding inside the patrol unit in which he was transported to jail.
At Carmane’s residence on Ashwood Drive, officers recovered another stolen trailer valued at $3,800. With Carmane’s consent, his business, Boomtown Furniture, was searched and an enclosed box trailer valued at $6,000 and reported stolen from Watauga was recovered from that location.
According to an SCU investigator, although stolen property was recovered at both Carmane’s home and business, he does not face criminal charges at this time.
Stolen goods in Springtown
The search warrant on Newfield Lane in Springtown yielded parts from a Freightliner truck tractor reported stolen from Haltom City. The truck itself had been found stripped on Cowboy Lane previously.
Officers recovered a Dodge pickup stolen from Corsicana and arrested Lindsey, charging him with theft $20,000-100,000. The truck is valued at $30,000. A Bobcat T-190 skid steer tractor believed to have been stolen from Texas Skid Steer was also recovered.
To date, authorities have recovered more than $125,000 in property stolen by members of the group.
The following arrests have been made in the case so far:
James Carroll Mathews, 43, of Azle, is charged with unlawful possession of a firearm by a felon; parole warrant; manufacture/delivery of a controlled substance in penalty group 1, 4-200 grams; tampering/fabricating physical evidence; possession of a controlled substance; and two counts of engaging in organized criminal activity. Mathews bonds total $202,500 but he is also held without bond on the parole warrant in the Parker County jail.
Jimmy Earl Freeman, 50, of Azle, is charged with burglary of a building, criminal mischief 1,500-20,000 and engaging in organized criminal activity. He, too, is held without bond for a parole warrant and his bonds for the other charges totals $90,000.
Eddie Duane Lindsey, 39, of Springtown, is charged with two counts of engaging in organized criminal activity and theft of property $1,500-20,000. Arrested May 20, Lindsey posted $87,500 in bond and was released from the Parker County jail May 23.
Scott Eugene Warnell, 36, of Springtown, is charged with five counts of forgery of a financial instrument, criminal mischief $1,500-20,000 and two counts of engaging in organized criminal activity. He was also wanted by both Tarrant and Wise Counties on separate forgery charges. Warnell’s bonds total $210,005, and he remains in the Parker County jail.
Bradley Scott Teague, 39, of Azle, is charged with two counts of engaging in organized criminal activity. Teague was arrested May 20 and remains in the Parker County jail with bond set at a total of $80,000.
Stanley Spencer Davidson, 48, of Aledo, is charged with two counts of engaging in organized criminal activity. Davidson was arrested May 23. He posted $150,000 bond and was released from the Parker County jail May 30.
Ricky Dean Easthom, 54, of Azle, is charged with two counts of engaging in organized criminal activity. He was arrested May 29 and bond has been set at $75,000 per charge for a total of $150,000.
Coleman Wayne Hampton, 40, of Springtown, is charged with engaging in organized criminal activity. He was arrested May 29, posted $75,000 bond and was released from the Parker County jail May 30.
Fred Fuentes, 48, of Fort Worth, is charged with unauthorized use of a vehicle. When he was arrested Jan. 14, he was also wanted for theft $20,000-100,000 and theft $1,500-20,000 by Fort Worth PD. Fuentes posted $82,500 bond and was released from the Parker County jail Jan. 25.
Linda Carol Scroggins, 45, of Poolville, was arrested June 2 and charged with possession of a controlled substance. She posted $7,500 bond and was released from the Parker County jail June 3.
Sheila Reyanee Mathews, 46, of Azle, is charged with possession of a controlled substance. She was arrested May 22, posted $7,500 bond and was released from the Parker County jail May 23.
Juan Carlos Avila-Gonzalez of Arlington was arrested June 3 in Pantego. He will be transferred to the Parker County jail, where he will be charged with engaging in organized criminal activity.