October 21, 2020

Feds say Texas fireworks stand linked to date rape drug ring, 9 arrested, 2 deaths

Eight people have been arrested, many with ties to a Nederland, Texas, business Jake’s Fireworks, pursuant to a federal indictment that alleges drug and money laundering violations.

U.S. Attorney Stephen J. Cox made the announcement Wednesday afternoon.

A federal grand jury returned the 24-count indictment June 3, charging the following individuals with drug trafficking and money laundering crimes:

Jake Ellis Daughtry, 34, of Nederland
Joseph Ellis Daughtry, 64, of Nederland
Kip William Daughtry, 46, of Vidor
Sandra Miller Daughtry, 72, of Nederland
Jordan Lee King, 31, of Nederland
Tanner John Jorgensen, 28, of Nederland
Austin Wayne Dial, 28, of Nederland
Jesse Lee Hackett, 37, of The Woodlands

The defendants were arrested by a joint law enforcement task force Wednesday and will make initial appearances in federal court Wednesday and Thursday.

A ninth defendant is already in custody.

A DEA agent conducts an investigation today in Nederland.

According to court documents, the defendants are charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute, and distribution of, a controlled substance analogue resulting in death; conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute, and distribution of, a date rape drug over the internet to an unauthorized purchaser; maintaining a drug-involved premises; possession with intent to distribute, and distribution of, a controlled substance analogue; and money laundering.

The defendants are alleged to be the head of a chemical trafficking organization cell operating on a national scale.

Investigation of the organization began in 2018 when the Drug Enforcement Administration intercepted mail parcels of a chemical identified as 1,4 butanediol, commonly referred to as “BDO.”

BDO is a chemical manufactured only for industrial or laboratory use as a floor stripper or vehicle wheel cleaner and is not intended for human consumption. Investigators determined when BDO is ingested, it immediately metabolizes into GHB (a known date-rape drug) with the same effects, causing potential overdoses, addiction and death.

DEA traced the seized parcels to their origination point, Right Price Chemicals, a business located on Twin City Highway in Nederland and owned by Jake Daughtry, Joe Daughtry and Sandra Daughtry.

Multiple agencies and officers conducted raids and arrests Wednesday in Nederland.

Also located at Right Price Chemicals is a seasonal fireworks business called “Jake’s Fireworks.”

Agents determined that since 2016, Right Price Chemicals has distributed approximately 7,000 gallons of BDO over thousands of orders, and that those sales generated $4.5 million.

Agents additionally determined Jake’s Fireworks operated as a front for Right Price Chemicals, allowing individuals to purchase BDO on a walk-in basis. Customers could also obtain BDO from Jake’s Fireworks through internet orders, and have the chemical shipped to their home.

Right Price Chemicals also distributed bulk quantities BDO to mid-level dealers, who, in turn, sold or distributed the chemical to users.

Investigators determined that at least two deaths — one in Virginia and one in Florida — were directly caused by BDO sold by Right Price Chemicals. Right Price Chemicals distributed BDO in 48 states across the country.

Investigators have also determined that proceeds from the distribution and sale of BDO, which total over $1 million, have been laundered through several bank and retirement accounts throughout Southeast Texas. Those accounts have now been seized.

If convicted of the criminal charges, the defendants face a minimum term of 20 years, and up to life, in federal prison.

In addition to pursuing criminal charges, on July 13, 2020, the Eastern District sought and obtained a temporary restraining order against Jake’s Fireworks and any other businesses housed within the Twin City Highway location in Nederland. This civil injunctive relief immediately shuts down operations of the business and any further distribution of BDO and other chemicals.

Jake Daughtry, Joe Daughtry, Sandra Daughtry, and Kip Daughtry also face civil penalties under the Controlled Substance Act.

“I am proud of our team’s investigation and interdiction of this dangerous chemical trafficking organization,” Cox said. “The joint efforts of our Criminal and Civil Divisions led to the arrest of suspected drug traffickers, the seizure of bank accounts, and the shutdown of a suspected drug front, making the Eastern District of Texas a safer place for all.”