||Ton of pot found in
Monitor Staff Reports
KAUFMANA suspect fleeing from a traffic stop crashed, and the officer discovered why
the driver fled on foot there was a ton of pot in the van.
Kaufman County Deputy Sheriff Sgt. Charles Sexton initiated a traffic stop for a minor
infraction on Farm-to-Market 2757, near County Road 741 in Crandall, Jan. 24, when a chase
Photo/Kaufman County Sheriffs Office
Kaufman County Deputy Sheriff Sgt. Charles Sexton sits with his drug-detecting dog and
2,000 pounds of marijuana seized from a wrecked Ford Econoline van Jan. 24.
suspect, driving a white Ford Econoline van, lost control of the vehicle and crashed.
When Sexton reached the vehicle, he found the van still running, still in drive, but no
Sexton also discovered what was left behind 2,000 pounds of marijuana, neatly
bailed in black plastic bags, wrapped with tape.
The street value of the marijuana was estimated at more than $2 million, according to a
release issued Feb. 10 by Kaufman County Sheriffs Office public information officer
The case remains under investigation, Laney added.
Churches told to take steps
By Pearl Cantrell
Monitor Staff Writer
MABANKIn the wake of the ninth and 10th church fires in Northeast Texas, local law
enforcement are enlisting cooperation from area church leaders.
The cause of two fires remains undetermined, but the latest fires, at Dover Baptist Church
and nearby Clear Springs Missionary Baptist in Smith County Feb. 8, have been determined
to be arson.
That makes nine churches intentionally burned down in the Athens-Tyler area.
Another church fire in Central Texas was also deliberately set, but does not seem to be
tied to the East Texas fires.
No one has been reported injured. Federal agents suspect a serial arsonist or group of
arsonists in the East Texas fires.
Whoever is torching these churches are having to scope them out first, Mabank police chief
Kyle McAfee told local church leaders during a safety meeting Wednesday.
They may even attend a Wednesday night or Sunday night service.
Make sure greeters get visitors to fill out a visitors card. Get a copy of it
to us, so we can build a (statewide) data base, he said.
Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) chief Clay Alexander,
based in Tyler, said though the arsonists have evaded capture for more than a month,
were going to find who did this.
The Bureau has committed some 60 to 70 agents and many long hours to these fires, McAfee
McAfee pointed out a map of the church fires, categorized as arson since the beginning of
the year: three in Henderson County, one in Van Zandt (with two other church fires from
undetermined causes) and five in Smith County.
There is no pattern to the attacks, he said. They occur at any time of day or night and
are not particular to any one denomination, he said.
It is known that the fires are started with just what is on hand at the churches. Those
starting the fires do not seem to bring any accelerant, such as kerosine, with them.
Also known is that audible alarms are capable of staving off a potential attack, as there
are easier churches without alarm systems, he said.
Law enforcement officers have composite sketches of three persons of interest, who may
have been seen at one or more fires, McAfee said. These sketches are not being released to
the public at this time.
There hasnt been much to go on thats why we need to get everyone
involved, McAfee said.
If you see any suspicious activity, a parked car where there should be none, someone
visiting the church at odd hours, or even a footprint under a window, call 9-1-1, he
said, and dont touch anything.
If your church should fall victim to one of these fires, stay away from the
building. It just makes it harder for investigators to collect any meaningful
evidence, he warned.
In addition to getting church leaders involved in taking steps to protect their properties
by installing audible alarm systems or security cameras and being more vigilant about
filling out visitors cards and turning these into the police, the number of state troopers
cruising the area has been increased.
Youve probably noticed a few more state troopers on the road recently.
Hundreds of police officers are involved in this, he said.
If you see someone suspicious, dont confront him. Just leave. We dont
know if they are armed or not. Just call 9-1-1, he added.
McAfee also asked each church to fill out an informational sheet about their property and
If you are stepping up your own security measures, be sure to let us know what they
are, he said.
McAfee distributed a phone list of area law enforcement and the Texas Rangers church fire
hotline, (903) 675-0061, 62.
He also suggested those wanted to keep updated on important emergency information to sign
up for a free text with www.nixle.com or go to www.mabankpd.org to sign up.