Phone taps led to arrest

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

A Marshall County man's marijuana arrest last month with confiscation of $156,100 cash, three vehicles, three guns, a ledger and tally sheets at his home arose from phone taps authorized in Nashville.

Drug task force agents in this 17th Judicial District had been tracking Timothy Seisser, 27, of 4051 Cottonwood Court in the northern part of Caney Spring near Chapel Hill, but their work mushroomed when officers of the 20th Judicial District Task Force in Nashville called.

Wire taps on Seisser's telephone had been approved by a Davidson County judge, according to Tim Lane, director of the task force in Marshall, Bedford, Lincoln and Moore counties. Previous taps approved during Metro's two-year investigation led to Seisser.

"We had been watching Seisser," Lane said Monday. "We just didn't know what scale of distribution he was in."

Metro Police spokesman Don Aaron reported Thursday night that Seisser's alleged marijuana distribution was apparently connected to an organization in Nashville receiving drugs from a Texas connection. Some $156,000 cash and drug ledgers were confiscated at the Cottonwood Court house.

"It is suspected that Seisser took the cash and ledgers for safekeeping when word spread of last month's takedowns and search warrant executions," Aaron's office reported.

Referring to tally sheets, Lane said "It looked like $419,000 is what was owed on the wholesale value" of marijuana provided with agreements that payments were owed for 670 pounds of marijuana.

Seisser was charged here on marijuana possession charges. His next appearance in Marshall County General Sessions Court is on the last Tuesday in January, Lane said. Other charges in connection with the larger trafficking organization will be adjudicated in Nashville because it's a conspiracy case that could include racketeering charges, Lane said.

Lt. Shane Daugherty of the task force here got the call from the district attorney's task force in Davidson County, Lane continued. Daugherty and Tim Miller, Lane's assistant director, proceeded with their part of the investigation that grew daily.

About the time Seisser's home was raided at Caney Spring, more than 30 arrests were being made in Nashville in connection with the larger organization, reports from Lane and Aaron show.

In Seisser's house, $149,600 was found in a satchel with a ledger and tally sheets, Lane said. Some $6,700 cash was also found in a jar. Two handguns and an SKS semi-automatic assault rifle were also confiscated.

"On the same night we executed those search warrants, we had consensual searches of two other houses in Marshall County," Lane said. Lawmen believe two living in the other houses were Seisser's customers. Some $3,500 and five pounds of marijuana were confiscated at one of the other houses.

The money, two cars, a motorcycle, three guns and other personal property confiscated during the raids become property of the two drug task forces that will split the cash and keep the proceeds from public sales authorized by law after court papers are finalized.

Seisser's property issues could be resolved in 90 days, Lane said.

Both judicial district task forces "will split it down the middle," Lane said. "We've got a gentleman's agreement... I don't think anybody's going to come forward and claim the money because it was in the same satchel as the ledgers and tally sheets."

"Marshall County Sheriff's Department and Lewisburg Police assisted us in the execution of the search warrant and confronting the other two," Lane said. "We couldn't have done it without them." They included Sheriff's Capt. Bart Fagan, Deputy Drew Binkley, Police Detective Sgt. David Henley and Detective James Johnson.

The investigation started by the Judicial Drug Task Force in Metro included seizures of 1,370 pounds of marijuana, 8.4 kilograms of cocaine, $765,972 cash, 49 vehicles and 15 firearms. Liens have been placed on seven properties.

In Nashville, a house valued at nearly $1 million is subject to the same seizure and asset disposal system.

"And from what I hear," Lane said, "it was almost paid off."

Metro Police spokesman Don Aaron publicly announced the police actions Thursday evening, but the investigation began in early 2009. Felony drug and/or money laundering charges are filed against 32 people, including those who are alleged to be at the upper echelon of the criminal enterprise.

"This investigation is very significant," Nashville Police Chief Steve Anderson said. "Persons believed responsible for trafficking in extraordinarily large amounts of marijuana and cocaine have been identified and jailed."

The roundup began Nov. 13 shortly after a 1,260-pound marijuana shipment - originating in Mexico and entering this country in Texas -- arrived at a warehouse on East Trinity Lane, across from the police department's East Precinct. Marijuana stuffed in crates of green tomatoes and jalapeno peppers was unloaded and sent to homes on North Summerfield Drive and Constitution Avenue. Lawmen moved in with 19 search warrants. The latest was served Dec. 8, Aaron's office said Thursday.

Investigators allege two Nashville men, Marc Sutton, 39, of 4924 Clarksville Pike, and Timothy Dansby, 40, of 4104 Whites Creek Pike, conspired to distribute thousands of pounds of marijuana over the past few years. Sutton is previously convicted of conspiring to distribute cocaine and was released from federal prison in 2005.

To get the marijuana to Middle Tennessee, Dansby allegedly conspired with brothers Armando Lopez, 30, of Hendersonville, and Daniel Lopez, 23, of Hermitage, who allegedly worked through their uncles in Texas arranging marijuana and cocaine shipments. The uncles, Cayetano Flores, 43 of Mission, Texas, and Hector Flores, 45, of Wimberly, Texas, traveled to Nashville to oversee the Nov. 13th arrival.

Dansby allegedly worked through Kenneth Bowers, 32, to rent the Trinity Lane warehouse for last month's marijuana shipment. Bowers was present when the truck arrived on Nov.13. He's facing drug charges also.

Investigators say before Nov. 13, marijuana shipments arrived at the rear of Just Furniture, a furniture retail business on Dickerson Pike run by Antonio Summers, 38. Large bundles of marijuana were divided into small quantities in the back of the store and delivered to dealers and distributors. Summers is jailed on drug charges as part of this case.

The investigation further shows that marijuana was sent to two homes in Marshall County. Drug Task Force officers continue to pursue information developed in this investigation.

Additional arrests are expected.