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Sour Lake: Boil Water Notice CANCELLED. Water passes tests.
UPDATE -- The City of Sour Lake has lifted the Boil Water order effective immediately.  The city issued a press release saying "All lab test have come back and verified the water is safe to consume."

Head of drug cartel appears in Beaumont on federal charges

Head of the Gulf Cartel Appears in Beaumont Federal Court on Drug Trafficking Charges


        BEAUMONT, Texas - U.S. Attorney John M. Bales announced today that the current head of the Mexican drug trafficking organization, the Gulf Cartel, or Cartel del Golfo, has made an initial appearance in the Eastern District of Texas on drug trafficking charges.


        Juan Francisco Saenz-Tamez, 23, of Camargo, Tamaulipas, Mexico, was arrested by federal agents on Oct. 9, 2014 while shopping in Edinburg, Texas. 


        A federal investigation into the large-scale trafficking of illegal drugs from Mexico into the Eastern District of Texas led to the identity of Saenz-Tamez.  The investigation revealed thousands of kilograms of cocaine and marijuana were shipped into the Eastern District of Texas and then to locations across the nation, including Florida, Ohio, Michigan, Mississippi, Louisiana, Washington D.C., Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Maryland and Georgia. 


Saenz-Tamez was indicted by a federal grand jury on Sep. 5, 2013 and charged with conspiracy with intent to distribute cocaine, conspiracy with intent to distribute marijuana, and conspiracy to money launder.  Saenz-Tamez was transported from McAllen, Texas to Beaumont where he appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Zack Hawthorn for a detention hearing and initial appearance today. 


If convicted, Saenz-Tamez faces a minimum of 10 years and up to life in federal prison for the drug charges and up to 20 years in federal prison for the money laundering charge.


"The news that Juan Saenz-Tamez has been arrested is further proof that justice is prevailing in Mexico,” said U.S. Attorney Bales.  “I am encouraged that the efforts of so many law enforcement officers are now paying off. Congratulations to them and I look forward to seeing Saenz-Tamez answer for his crimes in a Beaumont courtroom."

“Juan Francisco Saenz-Tamez became the head of the Gulf Cartel following the 2013 arrest of former leader Mario Ramirez-Trevino,” said DEA Administrator Michele M. Leonhart. “He moved steadily up the cartel ranks, working as a lookout, record keeper, plaza boss, and finally its leader. Thanks to the quick actions of DEA and our local partners, we were able to identify and safely arrest Saenz-Tamez while he was in the United States.  He oversaw much of the violence and bloodshed that has plagued Mexico and DEA is pleased he will face justice in the United States.”


“The arrest of Juan Francisco Saenz-Tamez, will put a stop to his role in the distribution of illegal drugs and the laundering of drug proceeds,” said IRS-CI Special Agent in Charge Lucy Cruz.  “Laundering their profits is as important and essential to drug traffickers as the distribution of their illegal drugs. IRS CI is proud to provide assistance as we work alongside our law enforcement partners to bring these criminals to justice."


        This case is the result of ongoing Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) joint investigations, Operation South Park, Operation La Mano Negra, Operation Frontera Chica and Operation Iceberg.  The principal mission of the OCDETF program is to identify, disrupt and dismantle the most serious drug trafficking, weapons trafficking and money laundering organizations, and those primarily responsible for the nation’s illegal drug supply. 


This joint law enforcement investigation was led by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and Homeland Security Investigations, Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation, United States Marshals Service, Texas Department of Public Safety, Texas Attorney General’s Office, National Guard of Texas – Joint Counterdrug, Beaumont Police Department, Houston Police Department, Nacogdoches Police Department,  Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, and the Harris County Sheriff’s Office.  This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney John Craft.


A grand jury indictment is not evidence of guilt.  All defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

Jury begins deliberating in Tran capital murder trial

JEFFERSON COUNTY - The jury has begun deliberating in the capital murder trial of a man charged with robbing and killing a Port Arthur nightclub owner in September 2012.

KFDM's Jennifer Gordy is covering the trial of Brandon Tran. Stay with KFDM and for updates.

The State rested its case Monday after calling its final witness. The defense didn't put any witnesses on the stand.

A Port Arthur Police officer was the final witness for the prosecution.  Marcelo Molfino took Tran's statement shortly after his arrest. Tran said in his sworn statement that he went to Nikki's lounge September 1, 2012 to rob the owner, Hieu Huynh, 62. In the statement, Huynh said he demanded money from the owner, chased him and shot him, then took his gold chain and wallet.

The District Attorney's Office isn't seeking the death penalty. If convicted, Tran would receive an automatic life sentence.


Pizza driver robbed at gunpoint

GROVES -- A female pizza delivery driver as robbed at gunpoint Monday night at 8:32 pm in the 5900 block of Smith, according Groves Police Department.

According to the driver, the robbery occurred as she was stopped on the side of the road to count her money. As she was stopped, the male suspect opened the driver’s side door and placed a gun in her face. He then demanded all of her money. The victim complied with his request and gave him the money. 

Police say the suspect, who was armed with a black semi-automatic looking weapon was last seen running west on Smith towards Owens.  He was described as possibly a Hispanic or Asian male, 5-foot 10 inches to 6-foot, medium build, short hair. He was wearing a red shirt with a graffiti looking design. The driver was not injured.

The Groves Police Department requests anyone having additional information regarding this incident to please call (409) 962.0244.  

The Groves Police Department is continuing the investigation into aggravated robbery of a pizza delivery driver.

Tree impales man's leg in bushhog accident

At approximately 15:32 hours on Monday, October 20, 2014, the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office 911 Dispatch Center received a call from a gentleman that was brush-hogging in the 6000 block of Steinhagen Road in Labelle, TX. He advised that a tree limb had impaled in his leg after being propelled by the brush-hog.  Members of the Labelle/Fannett Fire/EMS and deputies with Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office responded. Upon arrival the tree limb was immobilized and the individual was removed from the tractor. Due to the extent and seriousness of the injury, the medics on scene requested Southeast Texas Air Rescue respond. The patient was transported by Southeast Texas Air Rescue to Christus St. Elizabeth Hospital. At the time of the transport the patient was believed to be in stable condition.


The Jefferson County Sheriff Office would like to thank the members of the Labelle – Fannett Fire/ EMS and Southeast Texas Air Rescue for their quick response and actions on the scene

Jeff County tax bills are in the mail
Jefferson County's 2014 tax bill have been mailed out, Jefferson County Tax Assessor-Collector Terry Wuenschel announced. 

The Jefferson County Tax Office collects for 27 jurisdictions which include the county, cities, school districts, and special districts located throughout Jefferson County.

The 2014 tax levy for all 27 jurisdictions is $528,355,018. There are 152,823 different accounts on the tax roll.

Wuenschel said, “We accept payment at all of our offices in Beaumont, Port Arthur, and Mid-County. Taxpayers may also mail their payments or use our website.” 

Payments by credit and debit card can be made in-person, or by calling 1-866-549-1010, or on the Internet at (use Bureau code 2228888).

Payment by E-Check is also available online. Taxes for 2014 become delinquent on February 2, 2015. 

All property owners are reminded that failure to receive a tax bill does not affect the accrual of taxes, penalty, or interest. 

If your tax bill does not arrive by November 5, please contact the Tax Office at 409-835-8516 or 409-983-8316 for a copy.

Judge sentences Pistorius to five years

PRETORIA, South Africa (CBS News) - Oscar Pistorius was sentenced to five years in prison on Tuesday for killing his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp with four shots from a handgun on Valentine's Day 2013.

Pistorius remained emotionless as the sentence was read, but bowed his head slightly as the legal teams concluded proceedings and cried quietly.

His lawyer, Barry Roux, said after the sentencing that Pistorius was expected to actually serve 10 months behind bars and the remainder of his sentence under house arrest. CBS News' Debora Patta says the 10-month mark is the earliest Pistorius can apply for a transfer from prison to house arrest.

The former Paralympic double-amputee track star known as "Blade Runner" -- who shot to international fame when he was granted permission to run in the 2012 Olympics alongside able-bodies athletes -- has maintained since the day of the shooting that he believed an intruder entered his home and was hiding behind the locked bathroom cubicle door.

Prosecutors argued that he knew it was Steenkamp behind the door in his luxury house and that he shot her in a fit of rage after an argument.

Both the prosecution and Pistorius' legal team have the option of appealing Judge Thokozile Masipa's sentence.

She sentenced him to five years for killing Steenkamp, and an additional three years for the unlawful discharge of a firearm in a restaurant in a separate incident. She suspended the three-year sentence for the discharge of a firearm for a period of five years.

Patta reports that as he was led out of the courtroom on his way to a high security prison, Pistorious reached out for support for his family. Almost immediately after the sentencing, his uncle Arnold told reporters in a brief statement that the family "accept the judgement" passed by Masipa.

Steenkamp's family looked relieved in court, reports Patta, and outside the courtroom her mother June was seen smiling for first time in months before she was engulfed in reporters and cameras jostling to ask her questions. She said she believed justice had been served.

In the final phase of the trial Pistorius' legal team called one witness who argued that the runner's disability would make a prison sentence unduly hard for him to bear. Masipa chastised the witness before announcing her punishment on Tuesday, saying she believed the South African prison system was capable of handling an inmate with physical disabilities.

"I have no reason to believe the accused would present the department of corrections with an insurmountable challenge," Masipa told the court.

Masipa said the key mitigating factors she considered in her sentencing were that Pistorius was a "first offender and seems remorseful." She also took into account his actions immediately after the shooting, "which indicated that he wanted the deceased to live."

The judge said she attempted to strike a balance in determining her sentence, which she must "neither be too severe nor too light."

Pistorius was surrounded by police officers as he walked into the South African courthouse Tuesday ahead of his sentencing.

Masipa had a range of options for Pistorius' punishment after convicting him of culpable homicide, or negligent killing, in Steenkamp's death, but acquitting him of murder. Masipa could have issue a suspended sentence and a fine, meaning Pistorius would not have gone to jail. Or she could have sent him to prison for up to 15 years.

Pistorius' lawyers argued for a three-year period of correctional supervision, where the runner would spend periods under house arrest and also perform community service. Prosecutors had asked the judge to send him to prison for at least 10 years.

Pistorius was escorted through crowds of onlookers and into the Pretoria courthouse by police officers wearing blue berets.

The courtroom was packed, reflecting heightened media and public interest ahead of the sentencing. Police officers stood guard in the aisles.

Before proceedings started, Dr. Lore Hartzenberg, a psychologist, held Pistorius' hand and spoke softly to him. Hartzenberg had testified for the defense that Pistorius was a "broken man" after killing his girlfriend and had suffered emotionally and financially.

A Pistorius supporter laid three white roses near Pistorius.

"I just wanted to bestow a little bit of inner happiness on Oscar," said the supporter, who added that she thought he had lost a lot of self-respect.

Outside the courthouse, a man in orange garb carried chains and a large sign that read: "Are certain offenders more equal than other offenders before the law?"

Boil Water Notice for Orange County WCD#1
Orange County Water Control and Improvement District No.1 is issuing a boil water notice affecting customers in the vicinity of West Bolivar and West Courtland streets due to a water repair. 

The district is sending out a phone call through blackboard connect to the affected customers. The district officials will notify the customers when it is no longer necessary to boil the water.  

This rescind notice will be issued in the same manner as the boil water notice.  If you have any questions regarding this matter you can contact the district at 409-769-2669.  Thank you

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