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Archive for Monday, August 5, 2013

Douglas County drug investigation seizes $1 million in meth from Mexican drug cartel

August 5, 2013

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Lawrence Police sergeant Trent McKinley talks about the nearly 25 pounds of methamphetamine seized in a Douglas County drug raid last week, during a news conference Monday at the Investigations and Training Center, 4820 Bob Billings Parkway. McKinley and drug enforcement officers estimate the street value of the load at nearly $1 million and say that they have reason to believe the drugs are connected to the Mexican drug cartel. Nick Krug/Journal-World Photo

Lawrence Police sergeant Trent McKinley talks about the nearly 25 pounds of methamphetamine seized in a Douglas County drug raid last week, during a news conference Monday at the Investigations and Training Center, 4820 Bob Billings Parkway. McKinley and drug enforcement officers estimate the street value of the load at nearly $1 million and say that they have reason to believe the drugs are connected to the Mexican drug cartel. Nick Krug/Journal-World Photo

Nearly 25 pounds of methamphetamine, a 9 mm handgun and several thousand dollars in cash are among the items seized in a Douglas County drug raid last week. Sgt. Trent McKinley of the Lawrence Police Department and drug enforcement officers estimated the street value of the load at nearly $1 million and said that they have reason to believe the drugs were connected to a Mexican drug cartel.

Nearly 25 pounds of methamphetamine, a 9 mm handgun and several thousand dollars in cash are among the items seized in a Douglas County drug raid last week. Sgt. Trent McKinley of the Lawrence Police Department and drug enforcement officers estimated the street value of the load at nearly $1 million and said that they have reason to believe the drugs were connected to a Mexican drug cartel.

Mexican traffickers smuggle methamphetamine through South Texas border entries on routes that lead directly to northeastern Kansas and Kansas City. The drugs are increasingly found in Lawrence, police say.

Mexican traffickers smuggle methamphetamine through South Texas border entries on routes that lead directly to northeastern Kansas and Kansas City. The drugs are increasingly found in Lawrence, police say.

Law enforcement officers seized nearly 25 pounds of methamphetamine in Douglas County last week, probably the supply of a Mexican drug cartel that was meant for distribution in the Lawrence area, police announced today.

The methamphetamine, worth almost $1 million if sold by the gram on the street, represented the largest quantity of meth ever seized here, said Sgt. Trent McKinley, a Lawrence Police Department spokesman. It was discovered, along with several thousand dollars in cash and a 9 mm handgun, by officers working in a local drug enforcement unit.

Police will not disclose many details about that investigation that led to the seizure, including when and where the meth was seized. But McKinley said the quantity was unusual enough that police officials wanted to public to know what kind of drug trafficking has been occurring.

“We have a clear and direct connection to the Mexican drug cartel,” McKinley said. “People might think this isn’t happening, but they’re wrong.”

Police have identified local suspects implicated in the meth seizure, but did not immediately arrest them, McKinley said, a choice investigators often make when building a larger drug case. A case is likely to be prosecuted in a federal court sometime in the future, possibly months from now, McKinley said.

A changing marketplace

The neatly-packaged drug crystals the officers piled up today on a conference table at the Lawrence Police Department’s Investigation and Training Center, 4820 Bob Billings Parkway, are nothing like the type of methamphetamine that used to be found in Lawrence, McKinley said. Officers investigating drugs in the Lawrence area are finding large quantities of methamphetamine that is far more pure, more valuable to drug dealers, and more destructive.

The investigation involved undercover officers working in the Douglas County Drug Enforcement Unit, a team of Lawrence police and Douglas County Sheriff’s Office deputies conducting local drug investigations. McKinley said the drugs were hidden in Douglas County and not seized from a vehicle passing through on its way elsewhere.

Because of the way the drugs were produced and packaged, and from information developed in the investigation, McKinley said, the seizure further confirmed the suspicions of some local investigators that the supply of meth here comes from one of several violent organized crime groups based in Mexico. Organizations such as the Sinaloa cartel have been linked to very large methamphetamine seizures, such as the capture of 15 tons of the drug in Mexico last year.

If the the meth discovered in Douglas County last week came from a lab belonging to one of those groups, it would be typical of what communities across the United States have seen, according to David Mizell, a Drug Enforcement Administration agent in Kansas City.

While methamphetamine was once produced all over the rural United States in small, clandestine laboratories in trailers and motel rooms, new laws have restricted access to needed chemicals here. As domestic production waned, according to DEA reports, Mexican organized crime groups built “superlabs,” or drug factories, staffed by professional chemists and capable of producing pure methamphetamine in greater quantities than ever before.

McKinley said the meth seized last week probably came from one of those laboratories. It may have been smuggled north to Douglas County on Interstate Highway 35, which federal agencies such as the DEA have identified as a major U.S. corridor for many kinds of contraband, including meth, marijuana and cocaine.

“They just flooded the market,” one undercover officer said.

Effects felt throughout the community

The new methamphetamine market affects everyone, McKinley said. The cost to the user, who can snort, smoke or inject the drug, is a risk of health problems and a powerful daily addiction. The cost to society is the crime that goes with the addiction, including identity theft and burglaries. Police recently linked a string of break-ins at storage units in Lawrence to methamphetamine, and officers from the drug enforcement unit say there are many more similar cases.

The cheaper and more pure the drug, police say, the more severe the effects. And as police send samples of the methamphetamine seized last week to a lab for analysis, they expect to find it is extremely pure. At the moment, meth sells on the street for $80 or $100 per gram and about $24,000 per pound. Sold by the pound, the supply seized last week would be worth about $600,000. Sold by the gram, it would be worth close to $1 million.

Comments

jack22 1 year, 1 month ago

Good job guys. Thanks for getting this poison off our streets.

16

Dusty 1 year, 1 month ago

The cartels don't have to use Sudafed or cleaning products and poisons to make meth, they use methylamine ala Walter White/Breaking Bad. It's horrifying to know that this has come to Lawrence but then again, I'm not surprised.

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tomatogrower 1 year, 1 month ago

Wow. Good job. Get that crud out of here.

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50YearResident 1 year, 1 month ago

All we need is some Mexican drug dealers and their gangs here in Lawrence. As naive as the people in Lawrence are the Drug Cartels could set up their headquarters here. I may have to apply for a CC Permit.

4

Wayne James 1 year, 1 month ago

Having a C/C permit doesn't give you a license to play policeman. You can't go out and start shooting at someone or something without first knowing where that piece of lead is going to wind up. Police officers DO NOT discharge their firearms, wildly shooting at something/someone. They need to "qualify" with that weapon they carry on a regular basis. If you do discharge your weapon, you must carry at least $1M in insurance. Don't forget...you are a private citizen with NO powers of arrest (detainment). Anyone getting hurt by a stray bullet can and probably come back and sue you for shooting them. It's not up to yoj to decide if someone is committing a crime or not. If you see what you as a private citizen perceive to be a crime in progress, use your precious "smart phone" and call the police. You then, are free of any repercussions from the "bad" guys and can't be held liable in a court of law.

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50YearResident 1 year, 1 month ago

I didn't say anything about going after these drug dealers. My CC license would be for self protection only from the related gang activity. I am too old to be a vigilante. You worry way too much about stray bullets when there are none.

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q_ball2kand1 1 year, 1 month ago

| Police officers DO NOT discharge their firearms, wildly shooting at something/someone. Lol http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2013/02/torrance-shooting.html#more

0

alexis_johnson 1 year, 1 month ago

Guess they could rent a few more U-Haul trucks.

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Wayne James 1 year, 1 month ago

Are you, as a taxpayer in Lawrence, ready also to shell out the big bucks to man and equip a "new" station?? Are you taking into consideration the cost of extra patrol cars and the equipment to support these cars? At about a cost of $25-$30K for each squad alone plus the lights/sirens that come with them? Chew on that for a while before you start demanding something like a new patrol station.

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ChuckFInster 1 year, 1 month ago

Don't forget to thank Barack, if he doesn't want to enforce the boarders we can expect more where this stuff came from.

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PhilChiles 1 year, 1 month ago

That's a good point, because as I recall, drug smuggling only started a few years back, after Obama became President. Prior to then, criminals were able to restrain themselves from taking advantage of the vast profit margins, and respected our borders. THANKS OBAMA

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riverdrifter 1 year, 1 month ago

Long as those boarders pay rent, everything is cool.

Try again.

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bad_dog 1 year, 1 month ago

Perhaps we should erect "Boarder borders".

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ksscribbler 1 year, 1 month ago

C'mon, folks. That's $500 an ounce. KS economy wouldn't be swirling around the porcelain basin if folks had that kind of money to throw around.

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bearded_gnome 1 year, 1 month ago

sure would like to know how they trace this back to the Mex cartel, I have a feeling that south of the border they don't stick a little logo on it, lol.

glad this was found. but I wonder: how much else is out there in DGCO? bet this isn't all.

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bearded_gnome 1 year, 1 month ago

Chuckfinster is right about lax border enforcement by order of Obama. note the article: meth used to be made locally a lot in the lttle do-it-yurself labs; but those are largely shut down and now th drug cartels have giant labs in Mexico and ship in large quantity across the border to get it north to here.

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bad_dog 1 year, 1 month ago

"Propaganda" is a very kind way to reference those lies, Py.

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Paul Wilson 1 year, 1 month ago

From the person referencing a white house press bulletin as their source I'm sure.

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PhilChiles 1 year, 1 month ago

Look back over the last century. When incentives are high for smuggling, there have always been people willing to smuggle in huge volumes of drugs. Doesn't matter if it's alcohol, marijuana, heroin, cocaine, pills, etc, there will always be a way to bring it in the country. Name one president that was able to even come CLOSE to stopping smuggling.

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agitatedbacon 1 year, 1 month ago

FDR ended alcohol smuggling pretty quickly after he got into office...

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ineedaslogan 1 year, 1 month ago

You obviously missed this sentence in the article, "While methamphetamine was once produced all over the rural United States in small, clandestine laboratories in trailers and motel rooms, NEW LAWS HAVE RESTRICTED ACCESS TO NEEDED CHEMICALS HERE." The last part of this sentence explains why meth is no longer produced locally. Either you truly misread or you are skewing facts.

1

gatekeeper 1 year, 1 month ago

yeah, cuz drugs were never smuggled across the border before Obama.

Before meth, it was lots of weed and cocaine. Now so many states have legal (mostly legal, high quality weed), so the demand from Mexico isn't as high. They also grow it in natl parks in the USA so they don't have to smuggle it. But meth!! Can't get the chemicals here to make big batches so they took advantage down south. The smuggling has never changed, just the items being smuggled. Keep telling yourself that it's all Obama's fault though. I guess that just makes some people feel better having a boogie man to blame. I guess we didn't have republicans in power during the 80's when so much cocaine was smuggled in.

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Amy Heeter 1 year, 1 month ago

Good keep that junk out if here.

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Wayne James 1 year, 1 month ago

If you and your fellow student body stop using/buying the stuff, it will continue to flow into Kansas and the "Plains States". I doubt that many of those raised in "Larryville" uses the stuff unless they are in some way connected to the influx of the student body imported to attend this "snob school" (KU). They prefer I'm sure, to any one f the local taverns and get soused on 3.2 beer.

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Ronnie24 1 year, 1 month ago

I hope you don't truly believe that people raised in Lawrence don't use the stuff. It has and IS being used by the good folks raised in this area.

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agitatedbacon 1 year, 1 month ago

I really doubt many KU students use meth (though I'm sure a few do). Adderall is almost the same drug, however, and is wildly used. I know plenty of people who have damaged their brains doing the stuff and think it's fine because they went to a doctor, said they were distracted in class, and got a prescription.

2

ineedaslogan 1 year, 1 month ago

Are you kidding me? Have you not been reading all the articles about the people being busted for possession in the last couple months? All were born and reside in Lawrence. Maybe one or two are from Topeka. Most are life long criminals from this area. No imports, home grown.

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Kathy Getto 1 year, 1 month ago

Amen to that arti!

Long-term effects of meth may include:

Addiction Psychosis, including: paranoia hallucinations repetitive motor activity Changes in brain structure and function Memory Loss Aggressive or violent behavior Mood disturbances Severe dental problems Weight loss

Had the bad luck of a run-in with a long term user a few years back. Very sad indeed.

0

Seth Peterson 1 year, 1 month ago

Psychosis, paranoia, repetitive motor activity. . . . I guess that explains why there's so many republicans in this state.

4

Currahee 1 year, 1 month ago

Why, I wonder, what could make people turn to drugs? The only reasoning would be someone would have to be out of their minds. What could possibly be so bad in your life that would make you use such things? Drugs not only hurt you, but they hurt the community here and the community in Mexico where cartels are beheading people.

Please stop supporting these barbarians. Please stop using drugs, it's never too late.

0

hiphopsux 1 year, 1 month ago

exactly why we should legalize and quit prosecuting a plant that has fewer side-effects than half the legalized stuff we have in this country. It's not a drug people, it's a plant----made by your GOD, it's just a plant!

3

Wayne James 1 year, 1 month ago

It is a plant, but it is also called a noxious weed. A bane to many gardners.

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Liberty275 1 year, 1 month ago

Is pot really a problem in lawns and gardens?

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bad_dog 1 year, 1 month ago

Gosh, I wonder who might have designated it a noxious weed?

Bane to gardeners. Now that's funny. Just tell any such affected gardeners to put down the pipe until they finish their gardening. No worries, bro.

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KSManimal 1 year, 1 month ago

I love it when people say "it's not a drug, it's a plant". Hmmm..... Opium poppy is a plant, too. So is poison ivy. So is hemlock - put that in your pipe and smoke it.

Love how the pot smokers refuse to believe that the money they spend on pot isn't funding the same people who run meth and therefore directly driving burglaries in their home towns.

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Bursting 1 year, 1 month ago

Lol everyone knows that all the pot smoked in Lawrence comes from the west, not the south...

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Liberty275 1 year, 1 month ago

"Why, I wonder, what could make people turn to drugs?"

Diabetes?

0

Jeremiah Jefferson 1 year, 1 month ago

They used pure and methamphetamine in the same sentence. Trust me folks, there is nothing pure about this drug. Might as well snort a big line of drano, battery acid, and lighter fluid.

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irvan moore 1 year, 1 month ago

I think whoever lost those drugs are in a heap of trouble with some people who are not associated with law enforcement

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Keith 1 year, 1 month ago

My thoughts exactly. You don't lose control of that much money and potential money without consequences. Plus the fact that no arrests have been made. Suspicious minds further up the food chain have a way of settling accounts and ending investigations.

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Joe Hyde 1 year, 1 month ago

Meth is a super-dangerous drug due to its addictive power almost immediately provoking a downward spiral of behavior problems., followed by a crippling loss of personal income once users begin diverting their money away from ordinary activities just so they can keep buying the stuff.

Last week while sitting in a restaurant, I looked outside and saw a young mother pull into the parking lot in a dilapidated "beater". She and her little boy came in and immediately everyone in the place could tell that she was high as a kite, just pinging off the walls. A damn sad sight. Here you've got an otherwise pretty young woman...except for that gruesome mouthful of black rotting teeth, except for her frantic struggles to figure out who-knows-what, completely unable to concentrate on any one thing for over 3 seconds at a time. Caught in meth's grip, perhaps never to escape.

The more meth, the more meth suppliers, get taken off the streets, the safer we'll all be. Very good work got done here by Lawrence PD and other LE folks.

2

Anydaynow 1 year, 1 month ago

ChuckFinster, of all the comments here, yours makes the most sense.
There have been many drugs distributed in Douglas County, but nothing done about it. Maybe some of the locals will get caught now. Sure hope so.

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Jean Robart 1 year, 1 month ago

And just because he said it, that makes it true?????

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jd 1 year, 1 month ago

Heisenberg is in town. He's a baaaad man.

None

by jd

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Bernadette Rose 1 year, 1 month ago

this is just a classic case of outsourcing, the mom and pop meth labs have been pushed out due to unfriendly regulation, and suddenly the big box meth moves in and the little guys cant compete! what ever happened to the simple joy of a home cooked meth? those were the days!

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