Released by the Van Zandt County Sheriff's Department
On Friday, February 15, 2013 at approximately 8:00 am, the Van Zandt County Sheriff’s Office and the Canton Police Department responded to a rural area near VZCR 4201 in reference to suspicious activity call. The Sheriff’s Office had received a report that a dark green passenger car reported to beoccupied by two men and two women was observed leaving the area and these individuals may have possibly just committed a residential burglary. A short time later, a man later identified as Steven Mcarter of Canton was observed by officers getting into a vehicle matching the description and was observed by Deputies to be in possession of two samurai style swords which officers suspected may have just been stolen from a nearby residence.
Deputies followed and observed the vehicle pull into a driveway at a residence near the intersection of State Highway 19 and VZCR 4219,south of Canton. The officers made contact with Steven Mcarter and the other three individuals who were identified as Ricky Addison, Lauren Smith and Jill Ford. These persons were all temporarily detained while Deputies and other law enforcement officers conducted a preliminary criminal investigation.
Investigators confirmed that Mcarter did attempt to commit a residential burglary on VZCR 4201, but after being interrupted by the property owner, he and the others fled the scene. As other area law officers assisted in the investigation, it was also confirmed that a second residence on VZCR 4203 had been burglarized.
During the investigation, Deputies and Criminal Investigator’s with the Van Zandt County Criminal District Attorney’s Office obtained a search warrant for Mcarter’s residence. The Sheriff’s Officewas assisted by the Van Zandt County Criminal District Attorney’s Office, the Van Zandt County Constable’s Office-Precinct 4 Constable Pat Jordan, and the Van Zandt County Fire Marshal’s Office in the execution of the search warrant.
In addition to the stolen property taken from the burglaries on Friday morning, the officers located stolen property from two other burglaries which had occurred previously in Van Zandt County. A large volume of property recovered at this location is believed to be stolen including property believed to be connected with a copper theft operation in Kaufman County.
The execution of the search warrant also led to the discovery of methamphetamines, drug paraphernalia, firearms, pipe bombs and bomb making materials. The Van Zandt County Sheriff’s Office contacted the Garland Bomb Squad and the United States Bureau of AlcoholTobacco and Firearms who immediately responded to the scene.
Upon arrival the Garland Bomb Squadconfirmed the presence of an active pipe bomb at the residence and contained and successfully destroyed the device. Along with the live pipe bomb two other inert devices were also located at the residence. Along with the Van Zandt County Fire Marshal’s Office, the Garland Health and Safety Department wascontactedto inspect chemical agents that were alsolocatedon the property. The Garland Health and Safety Department was able to take possession of these hazardous chemicals including a large quantity of mercury.
County Fire Marshal Chuck Allen located several violations of water pollution and illegal commercial dumping at the location, and the propertyowner was cited for those violations.
During the investigation Officers and Criminal Investigators received additional information that anotherVan Zandt County resident, living on VZCR 2426, was also suspected to be involved in the receiving and concealing of stolen property connected with the stolen property recovered at the McCarter residence.
Officers traveled to the second residence located on VZCR 2426 and subsequently were able to obtain a search warrant for that property. During the search of the second location, authorities located additional property that was taken during the burglary from the residence on VZCR 4203 earlier in the morning.
At the residence, Deputies, K-9 Deputies, Constables and Detectives recovered more methamphetamines, drug paraphernalia, firearms and a large volume of property believed to be stolen. Investigators believe this to be a “fencing operation” where it is suspected that stolen property is routinely exchanged forillegal narcotics.
An unusually large volume of property was seized at this location and the Sheriff’s Office will begin attempting to identify the property and who the property belongs to in hopes of returning it back to the rightful owners.
Following the two day long investigation, Sergeant Jason Burns with the Van Zandt County Sheriff’s Office-Criminal Investigations Divisionstated, “It was a very longyetproductive day in Van Zandt County today, where sixarrests were made, fourburglaries were immediately solved and we are hopeful that many others will be solved, as our Investigators begin to sort through this verylarge volume of recovered property.”
Steven Mcarter of Canton was charged with one count of Burglary of a Building and one count of Engaging in Organized Criminal Activity and is currently confined at the Van Zandt County Jail awaiting arraignment. Mcarter is facing additional charges at a later date.
Ricky Addison, Lauren Smith and Jill Ford all of Canton were charged with Engaging in Organized Criminal Activityand are also currently incarcerated at the Van Zandt County Justice Center pending arraignment.
Susan Smiciklas of Canton was also arrested for an outstanding warrant out of Henderson County for Possession of Marijuana, and Alishia Pack of Gun Barrel City was arrested for Possession of a Controlled Substance PG1<1G andan outstanding warrant out of Kaufman County for Criminal Nonsupport.
Sergeant Burns stated, “This is an ongoing criminal investigation and we believe there will be additional arrests and recoveries.”