DOJ Seal

Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
Southern District of Texas

For Immediate Release

Friday, October 2, 2015
Kenneth Magidson
, United States Attorney
Contact: AUSA Assigned to Case

Final Defendant Sentenced in Operation Piney Woods

HOUSTON – The final person in a 14-defendant cocaine conspiracy has been ordered to federal prison for more than 24 years, announced U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson. Jeramy Jerome Gage, 34, of Huntsville, pleaded guilty March 28, 2014, to conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute cocaine and marijuana.

Today, U.S. District Judge Melinda Harmon ordered he serve 292 months in federal prison which will be immediately followed by five years of supervised release. In handing down the sentence, the court noted his leadership role and that he obstructed justice among other factors for the significant sentence.

Gage was the last of 14 defendants to be sentenced in this drug trafficking organization. The remaining defendants previously received sentences ranging from 145 to 18 months in prison. Ramola K. Brown, of Huntsville, was convicted by a jury following a three-day trial, received 145 months in prison. The remaining defendants, all from the Huntsville and Houston areas, had previously pleaded guilty. Dennis Rogers Haynes received a sentence of 104 months, while Jeffrey Johnson, Arturo Valdez and Annie Mae Ball were sentenced to 87, 80 and 78 months, respectively. Lawrence Perry, Kenneth O’Bryant and Herratio Hans Hedspetch each were ordered to serve a 70-month-term of imprisonment. Gregory McFadden, Lloyd Glen O’Bryant, Mark Wayne Wheeler, Michael Andrew Williams were ordered to serve 60, 46, 43, and 18 months in prison, respectively, while Scotty Porter was ordered to serve 16 months in prison.

This convictions are the result of a two-year investigation dubbed Operation Piney Woods led by the Drug Enforcement Administration with the assistance of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; U.S. Marshals Service; police departments in Houston, Huntsville and Willis; sheriff’s offices in Walker, Montgomery and Harris Counties; Texas Department of Public Safety; Texas Department of Criminal Justice - Office of the Inspector General; and both the Madison and Walker County District Attorney’s Offices. Assistant United States Attorneys John Jocher and Shelley Hicks prosecuted the case.

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Field Division: Houston Field Division