Two men are under investigation after a major drug bust in Laclede County last Saturday.
This is the largest case in that area in several years.
Officers from Lake Area Narcotics Enforcement Team, Laclede County Sheriff’s Office, Lebanon Police Department and the Missouri Highway Patrol seized 5 pounds of crystal methamphetamine worth $250,000, a quarter pound of marijuana, $10,000 in cash and eight handguns.
Laclede County Sheriff David Millsap said a score of this size is likely tied to the Mexican drug cartels.
“Most of the meth that we run into and especially in large quantities is usually Mexican meth,” he said.
Authorities executed a search warrant at a business in an isolated area of Laclede County.
“Those secondary places that are used to bring in large quantities of methamphetamine for distribution are in areas that are a lot of times, for a lot of people, would be under the radar,” said Millsap.
He said a large scale investigation led authorities to the accused drug pushers.
“It can be long term or it may take several months or a year to put something together. Some things fall in place rather quickly. Basically the onion gets peeled back. We’ll see where it leads into any further arrests or indictments on the federal side,” he said.
We’ve often reported on the shift from homegrown labs being used to cook up the drug to cartels importing the goods into the Ozarks.
Millsap said, “On our part we’ve had a real emphasis placed on the methamphetamine trade in our community. That is the number one drug and the number one problem that we deal with. It leads to many of the property crimes we have. A lot of our violent crimes are because of our methamphetamine use. Domestic violence is tied to substance abuse.”
This haul is just a small victory in the fight to keep the community safe.
“This battle against methamphetamine is an everyday grind. Certainly, when you get an arrest and seizure such as we got on Saturday you’ve made a nice little dent but you’re far from being complete,” he said.
The names of the two men, one from Springfield, the other from Lebanon, are being withheld until they are officially charged.
Millsap said that federal authorities are investigating.
Charges will likely be handed down by a grand jury soon.
By Frances Watson and Photojounalist Mason Seidel | KSPR 33 News