Canadian County deputies break up a drug smuggling operation out of Missouri.
Deputies discovered an illegal load of drugs being smuggled in a vehicle loaded on a parked car hauler at the TA Truck Stop on Morgan Road near I-40. Deputies were drawn to the 2004 Ford Explorer loaded at the rear of the transport trailer when they learned the vehicle was picked up in Los Angeles, California and headed to Monett, Missouri; while being registered in Colorado.
After consent to enter the vehicle was obtained, a search revealed that a false compartment to the rear passenger area of the vehicle had been made. Deputies were able to access the false compartment where 15 bundles of illegal drugs believed to be methamphetamines were located. The bundles weighed 1.3 kilos each for a total weight of 19.5 kilos, or approximately 42.9 pounds, with an estimated street value in excess of 2.3 million dollars.
As task force members with the U. S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the Canadian County Sheriff's Office was able to coordinate a controlled delivery of the narcotics to their intended destination in Missouri.
Upon arrival to Monet, Missouri the Ford Explorer was released to a Hispanic male who paid the shipping fees and took possession of the vehicle. The task force followed the vehicle to a home in a residential area of Monett where the subject was met by other Hispanic men. During the search of the property, more methamphetamines were located along with firearms, a substantial amount of US currency and documents related to the trafficking of the narcotics.
"It appears this was a long running operation involving the use of unsuspecting Semi drivers to transport the vehicles containing the narcotics cross country," said Randall R. Edwards, Canadian County Sheriff. "The group was using sophisticated concealment methods to ensure the safe transit of the narcotics and seems to have utilized the small town of Monett due its rural location with a large immigrant population."
In all, six individuals were booked into the Monett City Jail pending transfer to a Federal Detention Center to await trial on charges of Trafficking Narcotics, Conspiracy to Traffic Narcotics, Money Laundering and Weapons related charges.