LIVINGSTON -- A 29-year-old Coldspring man was sentenced to 40 years in prison Monday after pleading guilty to the first-degree felony offence of engaging in organized criminal activity.
John Lloyd Frazer had entered a guilty plea earlier to the charge but elected to have 258th District Court Judge Ernest L. McClendon assess the punishment.
The charge against Frazer stemmed from a series of residential burglaries and thefts in the area of FM 2665 near Goodrich in July 2016. During the punishment hearing, which was prosecuted by Polk County Criminal District Attorney Lee Hon, multiple victims testified they had returned to their homes after having been away for work only to discover they had been ransacked and property stolen.
Polk County Sheriff’s Detective Anthony Lowrie testified that following a vehicle stop near Goodrich on July 19, 2016, a search was conducted of Frazer’s residence on Coy Dodson Road where officers discovered many items of property stolen during the various burglaries along with firearms, methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia.
Also arrested during the investigation were Melissa Van Winkle, 33, of Goodrich and Dusty Craig Hanson, 22, of Splendora.
Additional firearms stolen in one of the burglaries were later recovered in Spring at the home of a family member of Van Winkle.
During the sentencing hearing, Hon presented the testimony of DPS Special Crimes Investigator Kevin Hunt who said Frazer was a confirmed member of the Aryan Circle, a white supremacist prison gang commonly involved in theft, burglary and drug distribution offenses in Southeast Texas. Photographs of Frazer’s numerous gang tattoos and gang related social media postings were admitted into evidence by Hon for consideration by McClendon.
In urging the court to assess a 40-year sentence, the district attorney argued that a lengthy sentence would be a just punishment for Frazer given the ongoing organized nature of his criminal activity which included a lengthy history of drug and property crimes.
In addition, Hon implored the judge to “send a message that gang activity of the type engaged in by Frazer and his associates would not be welcome in Polk County and would be dealt with harshly.”
Frazer remained expressionless in the courtroom as McClendon pronounced the sentence.
Charges remain pending against Van Winkle and Hanson, who remained in the Polk County Jail under bonds of $350,000 and $220,000 respectively.