Arnold Troy Crayton has matured a lot in the past decade. Back then, he was "Lil' Arnold," a 21-year-old junior member of a Fort Worth-based crack distribution ring busted by the feds in 2002.
Now, according to federal prosecutors, Crayton's moved on to marijuana, apparently smuggled to him straight from Mexico. And he isn't such a small fry anymore. According to criminal charges filed Monday, he's been distributing 100 pounds of weed every week from his home in a tidy subdivision at the far northern tip of Fort Worth.
The Drug Enforcement Administration began to unravel the operation on June 28, when Crayton's probation officer received an anonymous tip. (Crayton was initially given 11 years in prison in 2003 for the crack conviction but was released early after crack-sentencing reforms took effect in 2008). Over the next month, members of a local DEA task force staked out 1521 Kingfisher Drive and tracked his comings and goings.
On July 24, two men and a child arrived at the house in a Chevrolet Impala and went inside carrying an empty grocery sack. When they returned to the car a half hour later, they still carried the grocery sack, which was now bulging. The agents ran the car's license plate, which revealed a warrant for unpaid traffic tickets, then radioed Fort Worth police who stopped the vehicle on a nearby highway. Loose marijuana was strewn across the front passenger's seat, which was in addition to the two pounds they found in the grocery sack.
The traffic stop led to a search warrant for 1521 Kingfisher Drive, which led to the discovery of 52 pounds of weed inside the living room and kitchen, plus a loaded Sig Sauer pistol hidden beneath the bed. Throughout the house and in the garage, officers found wrappings labeled with the weight of the marijuana bricks from which they had come. Adding up the numbers on the empty wrappings, agents concluded Crayton had until recently been in possession of another 256 pounds of marijuana.
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Evidence in hand, the DEA agents had the probation officer set up a meeting with Crayton. But Crayton, apparently realizing the gig was up, never showed and quit answering the probation officer's phone calls. Law enforcement tracked him down on Monday. He is currently in federal custody.