Officers from four agencies raided a rural home in Monroe County early Friday morning, making five arrests and seizing methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia, in a bust that one law enforcement official said could disrupt the illegal drug supply in five counties around northeast Missouri.

More than a dozen officers, armed with no-knock search warrants, conducted the raid just before 7 a.m. on Friday at a house and travel trailers, located on 20 acres of land about five miles east of Paris.

The raid was led by Monroe County Sheriff David Hoffman, along with the bulk of his force, in addition to deputies from the Ralls County Sheriff’s Department, Missouri Highway Patrol and agents from the East Central Missouri Drug Task Force. Monroe County has a contract with the Central Missouri Drug Task Force for illegal drug-related investigations.

Arrested in the raid were: Joseph David Bias, 40, from O’Fallon, Mo; Edelina Sue Harrison, 31, of Mexico; Michael Gary Hicken, 43, of Mexico; Karena Sue Davis, 39, of Mexico; and Shannon Dale Smith, 42, of Paris.

As of Friday afternoon, the four were jailed on a 24-hour hold, awaiting formal charges, which were expected to be filed before by Saturday morning by Monroe County Prosecuting Attorney Talley Kendrick.

Hoffman, who said Friday’s bust would be a dent in the drug trade around five counties, including Monroe, Ralls, Audrain, Montgomery and Boone counties. The raid, he added, stemmed from several months of investigative work.

“We were brought in by the Drug Task Force about two days ago,” said Hoffman before the raid this morning. “We have been after (one of the suspects) for several years. In fact, I arrested him in 1994.”

Officers from the agencies gathered at the Monroe County Courthouse at 6 a.m. on Friday to review strategy and assignments for the raid. At around 6:40 a.m., Hoffman led a long line of police vehicles to the home. At 6:54 a.m., Hoffman pointed to the house, which as located about 30 feet off a dirt road.

“There. Here we are,” he said.

Law enforcement vehicles sped quickly down the dirt driveway, fanning out with officers deploying to their assignments. Three suspects were taken out of the house within about a minute. One tried to run, but was quickly tackled and cuffed. A law enforcement officer identified the runner as Bias, who allegedly threw a meth pipe to the ground and a substance believed to be meth in air. The law enforcement officer said that the team purchased a new Shop-Vac to vacuum the material. Inside the house, officers said they found suspected meth, a weapon and paraphernalia, along with needles. Officers said they also found an abandoned meth lab on the property.

Meanwhile, other officers moved down an incline to raid two recreational vehicles, where two of the suspects lived. They, too, were quickly arrested.

Officers seized methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia.

The raid was complicated because a 1-year-old child was present. Hoffman said that precautions were taken so that the child was not in danger. The child was reportedly found near a stack of used needles. Child endangerment charges are expected to the file again the parents.

“I worry about the safety of my people in these situations…I want them all to go home at night,” Hoffman said. “And we worry when there are children involved.”

Robert Yeadon, an officer from the Eastern Missouri Drug Task Force, was the lead investigator in the case. He said late Friday that the arrest in Monroe County is part of a series of raids designed to bring down a far-reaching drug distribution network.

“We have been working on this for several months,” he said.

Yeadon said that following the search, officers obtained another search warrant to look for suspected stolen property. He said officers discovered a stolen pick-up truck, two trailers with the vehicle identification numbers filed away and other suspected property.

By Forrest Gossett | Salt River Journal