TYLER — Gas prices in East Texas are rising to a fast start for 2012. The average price for a gallon of gasoline has jumped nearly 12 cents over the past three weeks.

According to the website gasbuddy.com, the average price for a gallon of regular gas in the Tyler-Longview area is $3.44, with a few places reporting $3.41. Nationwide, a  Lundberg Survey of fuel prices puts the price of a gallon of regular at $3.51. Diesel was up about 4 cents, at $3.95 a gallon.

Analysts are blaming the increase of gas prices on rising tensions in the Middle East and refineries switching to the more expensive summer grades. Analysts also see gas rising to $4 or more by May.

TCU football Players among Students Arrested in Drug Bust

FORT WORTH – Texas Christian University Police Chief Steve McGee said 17 students including four TCU football players were arrested in an undercover drug bust today.

Linebacker Tanner Brock, the leading tackler two seasons ago, defensive tackle D.J. Yendry and cornerback Devin Johnson were among four football players arrested Wednesday. The other is offensive lineman Ty Horn.

Police say they were caught making “hand-to-hand” sales of marijuana, cocaine, ecstasy and prescription drugs to undercover officers.

McGee says the six month investigation began after complaints from students, parents, and others.

School chancellor Victor Boschini calls the students’ actions “simply unacceptable.” Officials say all 17 students have been expelled.

Wood County Man Wanted

HAWKINS – Deputies are searching for a suspect who fled as officers were attempting to serve a warrant in the Hawkins area.

51 year old Rusty Lynn Pruitt jumped in his vehicle and led officers on a pursuit that ended when he got out of his vehicle and fled on foot.

A warrant has been issued for Pruitt for evading arrest , and an outstanding warrant on a charge of possession of stolen property.

If you know of Pruitt’s whereabouts contact the Wood County Crimestoppers at 903-763-CASH (2274)

Longview Woman Guilty of Social Security Fraud

MARSHALL – A 63-year-old Longview woman has been sentenced for social security fraud charges in the Eastern District of Texas.

Gaylynne Gale pleaded guilty on July 13, 2011, to theft of government property and was sentenced to five years probation and two months of house arrest by U.S. District Judge Rodney Gilstrap.

According to the indictment, from February 2004 until June 2010, Gale intentionally concealed her living arrangements with her ex-husband in order to receive more than $47,000 from the Social Security Administration in the form of Social Security Supplemental Security Income payments. Her misrepresentation also caused a significant loss to the Texas Medicaid Program. Gale was indicted by a federal grand jury on Sep. 1, 2010.


Scott Kelly Pleads Guilty to Federal Drug Charges

TYLER – A 56-year-old Avinger man has pleaded guilty to federal drug violations in Federal District Court in Tyler.

Scott R. Kelly pleaded guilty to possession of pseudoephedrine with the intent to manufacture methamphetamine before U.S. Magistrate Judge Judith K. Guthrie.

According to information presented in court, on Apr. 17, 2010, Kelly purchased cold pills containing pseudoephedrine at a Walgreens store in Longview, as well as on numerous other occasions at other stores in the area, with the intent to manufacture methamphetamine.

Kelly was indicted by a federal grand jury on Apr. 6, 2011. Kelly faces up to 20 years in federal prison. A sentencing date has not been set.


Evidence Presented in North Texas Torture Case

WEATHERFORD — Prosecutors have begun to present evidence in the trial of a North Texas man accused of torturing a former neighbor with a deer-skinning device. Some investigators testified yesterday they searched Jeffrey Allan Maxwell’s home following his arrest. There they allegedly found whips, bloodstained sheets, handcuffs and a chain attached to a bed.


Judges Demand Compromise on Texas Voting Maps

SAN ANTONIO — A panel of federal judges is demanding a compromise on Texas voting maps that have all but killed the chances that the state could hold a primary in April. The three judges today are expecting the Texas attorney general’s office and minority rights groups to submit an agreed-upon state Senate map for the 2012 elections. Deep divisions have held up new maps since last summer.


Farmers Win Block Against Oil Pipeline

DALLAS — Owners of a northeast Texas farm have a court order to block TransCanada from crossing the property with the proposed Keystone XL pipeline that would bring Canadian oil to refineries along the Texas Gulf coast. The company wanted to put the pipeline on the 600-acre farm along the Red River, about 100 miles northeast of Dallas.