1923 drug bust on Front Street in Orange would fit today’s blotter – Orange Leader

1923 drug bust on Front Street in Orange would fit today’s blotter – Orange Leader

The 1923 drug cases on Front Street in Orange would fit on today’s erasure pad

Published Saturday 28 January 2023 00:30

The Orange Daily Leader reported on January 28, 1923, a so-called “drug blast” carried out on January 27 by George V. Denman, Orange Police Chief and federal drug agent John Tully.

The two officers had been watching the American Express freight office on Front Street, waiting for two men who they had been told were picking up a package containing illegal substances.

Chief Denman and Agent Tully watched the two men pull up their car in front of Toup’s domino parlor. The men were identified as Leonard McDonald, 38, and Nathan A. Taylor, 36. Both men were residents of Beaumont.

McDonald stayed in the car when Taylor went to the cargo office. Taylor had in his possession an order form that was signed, JH Thomas, MD

McDonald had previously identified himself as “Dr. JH Thomas” and ordered that the shipment not be delivered to Taylor.

When Taylor entered the office and presented the order, the agent did not give Taylor the package. Taylor told the agent he would see Dr. Bring Thomas to the office so Dr. Thomas could allow him (Taylor) to receive the package. He said he’ll be back in about 10 minutes.

Taylor returned to the office accompanied by McDonald and posed as Dr. Thomas and the agent delivered the package to Taylor. Chief Denman and Agent Tully had entered the office, Tully jabbed his gun into Taylor’s ribs and then handcuffed him. Taylor didn’t resist, merely commenting, “My god, mister.”

Denman grabbed McDonald and handcuffed him. McDonald also did not resist the arrest.

The drug shipment contained morphine and cocaine. It was mailed by Direct Sales Company, Inc., a standardized pharmaceutical company of Buffalo, New York. It was addressed to JH Thomas, Orange, Texas. The package was listed as $53.

Information about the suspicious order has been relayed to Agent Tully. Tully had information that the medication had been ordered on a regular medical order form signed “JH Thomas, MD.” Suspicion had been aroused by the frequency and large volume of such deliveries.

Agent Tully had been sent to Orange by WS Woods, the El Paso Bureau’s narcotics officer. Upon his arrival in Orange, Tully contacted Chief Denman and they made their plans.

Chief Denman had already been informed of the suspect shipment and was preparing to seize it when Tully arrived.

The chief had a complaint from Dr. Thomas, formerly of Orange, received that order forms and invoice headers had been stolen from his office and orders placed on his behalf.

Two earlier shipments had been made on November 4th and 29th and were received and transported by Taylor from the express office.

The shipment seized that day contained three 1-ounce bottles of morphine sulfate, 16 1-ounce bottles of morphine tablets, half a grain of morphine, eight 1/8-ounce bottles of cocaine hydrochloride in flakes, 25 hydrotablets containing an eight grain of cocaine, and 100 hydro – Pills of heroin, one eighth of a grain each.

These drugs, along with another shipment expected in two days, the contents of which are known from shipping records, were valued at US$8,742 at what was then described as “contraband prices”.

Agent Tully said he was going to Beaumont to press charges against the two men before the US commissioner at the federal offices there.

The men would be arrested on one count of conspiracy to violate three parts of the Harrison Narcotic Act through the sale of narcotics, one violation of the law through the transportation of narcotics, and a section of the act dealing with forging a doctor’s signature on an order to secure drugs.

The maximum penalty for the alleged offenses was 12 years in prison.

The two men could also face state charges for forging Dr. threaten Thomas.

“And now you know.”

— Written by Mike Louviere

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