This Month in the DEA: Meth Busts
The DEA made a bunch of meth busts throughout the month of July. A real big bunch. In fact, the agency took enough speed off the streets to severely disrupt operations of the Organization of American Meth Distributors, whose union is shrinking by the day.
Its members are not happy.
Then again, how does a ragtag union go up against an outfit comprised of every single law enforcement agency in the land? It doesn’t. At least not for long. No matter how many members it manages to field. Because at the end of the day there’s no business bigger than the U.S. Government.
Now if only we can get meth treatment to expand with the same ferocity as the arrests. Meantime, here are some of the DEA’s best meth busts, as well as a few good sentencings to go with.
Taking Down a South Jersey Drug Trafficking Ring (July 23, 2021)
CAMDEN, N.J. – Hard to say what’s more impressive, the arrests (14 members of a crystal meth and heroin distribution ring, including the purported leader, Glen “Bless” Long); the extent of the months long effort (which included undercover agents, consensual recordings, controlled drug purchases, electronic surveillance, search warrants, and several court-authorized wiretaps); or the number of law enforcement organizations allied for the takedown (the list is below). Because frankly that list of LEOs looks like it includes every single agency in the Mid-Atlantic region.
We jest a bit, of course. But not much. Because in addition to crediting special agents with the DEA’s Newark Division, Special Agent in Charge Susan A. Gibson gave thanks to a rather impressive roll call.
Yes, thanked by the Special Agent were the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania; the DEA’s Philadelphia Division; the U.S. Department of Homeland Security – Homeland Security Investigations; the U.S. Marshals Service and the FBI. She also thanked the Bensalem Police Department; Berlin Borough Police Department; Berlin Township Police Department; Bucks County District Attorney’s Office; Camden County Prosecutor’s Office; Clayton Police Department; Delaware County District Attorney’s Office Narcotics Task Force; Deptford Township Police Department; Gloucester County Prosecutor’s Office; Gloucester Township Police Department; New Jersey State Police; New Jersey National Guard Counter Drug Task Force; Pennsylvania State Police; Pennsville Police Department; and Winslow Township Police Department. Guess that’s what happens when a case is part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) investigation.
Date from Hell Meth Bust in Wisconsin (July 27, 2021)
MADISON, Wis. – Two lessons here: Don’t trust your date and Don’t speed in Ladysmith. Especially if you’ve got 118 grams of meth and $10k in cash in your car. 51-year-old Eric G. Cooke did both. And — no surprise — is now doing nine years in federal prison. (He’s also got another four of supervised release to follow.)
See, Cooke and his date were speeding along in “downtown” Ladysmith one night when the Rusk County Sheriff’s Department pulled them over. Cooke asked the date to hold a small bag of meth during the stop in case he got searched. Well, she took the drugs alright. She also told the cops. The cops then searched the car and — voila! — the motherlode. To make matters worse, Cooke’s gal pal then directed officers to a location off a roadway in neighboring Chippewa County where Cooke had stashed a cooler containing over three and a half pounds of marijuana. Since Cooke was already on state supervised release, he’ll have to first finish up that sentence. Fortunately U.S. District Judge James D. Peterson is allowing him to concurrently serve his terms. Perhaps the judge felt bad for the guy after such an awful date.
Feds Interrupt Weekly Cali to Missouri Meth Run (July 22, 2021)
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Two more meth busts that prove you shouldn’t drug and drive, especially if you’re a drug trafficker with a bad drug habit. In these cases it’s 45-year-old Cheyenne W. Conn who was doin’ the drugged-out dirty driving. And it’ll be Conn who ends up imprisoned as a result.
The Everton, Missouri drug trafficker was twice pulled over by police while making his weekly West Coast meth runs. The first time was in Greene County, Missouri, where other drivers had called police after seeing needles flying from Conn’s swerving truck. The second time he was stop in extremely rural Oldham County, Texas (pop. 2052). In the first stop deputies found a Lorcin .22-caliber semi-automatic pistol, 4.27 grams of meth and $1,333 in Conn’s front sweatshirt pocket. In the second stop they discovered approximately 6.27 grams of methamphetamine (a distributive amount), a black bag containing $27,000 and another $900 in Conn’s pocket. Oh, deputies also found a hypodermic needle loaded with meth and ready to go, so Conn was obviously drugging and driving both times.
Nearly four years after the last arrest Conn went before U.S. District Judge M. Douglas Harpool and pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine and one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering.
We’re not entirely clear just what happened in those intervening years, but Conn admitted participating in a drug-trafficking conspiracy from Nov. 22, 2016 (the date of the first arrest) to Sept. 26, 2018, as well as in a money-laundering conspiracy from June 20, 2017, to Dec. 6, 2017 (four days before that second arrest).
Conn apparently made weekly runs from California to the Springfield area, bringing approximately 10 pounds of meth on each occasion. He’d distribute the methamphetamine to other dealers, then, in turn direct others to send wire transfers to members of the drug-trafficking organization.
Conn is just one of 12 defendants who have pleaded guilty in this case.
Florida Man Has Bad Luck on Florida Roads (July 22, 2021)
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Some folks shouldn’t drive a car. Taree Lamott Armstrong shouldn’t even ride in a car. His road luck is really that bad. The Haines City, Florida man was first stopped by the Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) for having a license plate attached to the wrong vehicle. There the trooper found $1520 and two bags of marijuana in his pockets, and powder cocaine, crack cocaine, hydrocodone, 43.6 grams of methamphetamine, and 2.25 pounds of marijuana in his car. Armstrong was then arrested on state charges and released on bond.
Not even four months later Armstrong was a passenger in a traffic crash. During the accident investigation, the Tallahassee Police Department discovered Armstrong trying to hide two black bags full of marijuana, crack cocaine, and drug paraphernalia. They also found $1453 in his pockets. Armstrong was arrested on state charges and was again released on bond.
A little over a month later, the DEA and the FHP picked up Armstrong to face federal charges. Upon his arrest, agents seized methamphetamine, marijuana, synthetic marijuana, $1160 in cash, and two digital scales from his vehicle. Since Armstrong’s prior criminal history includes nine felony convictions, several of which involve narcotics distribution and violence against law enforcement officers, he qualified as a Career Offender and was subject to increased Federal sentencing penalties.
On July 22, 2021, Acting U. S. Attorney for the Northern District of Florida Jason R. Coody announced the details of that sentencing. Armstrong will be spending the next 12 years in federal custody.
Well, at least the guy won’t have to worry about staying off the roads.
Double Digit Meth Busts in Georgia (July 16, 2021)
DUBLIN, GA. – Thirty defendants. Fifty-six felony counts. Seventy-seven firearms (including a machine gun). Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute and to Distribute 50 Grams or More of Methamphetamine. Facing 10 years to life.
Those are the double digits in the indictment USA v. Monroe et. al. said David H. Estes, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia. All 30 defendants are indeed charged with Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute and to Distribute 50 Grams or More of Methamphetamine. And if convicted, all defendants do indeed face a statutory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison. The maximum is life. Most importantly, authorities took down one very extensive meth ring.
It was reportedly a real team effort.
“Strong law enforcement partnerships underscore the power of combined forces and strategic partnerships,” said Robert J. Murphy, Special Agent in Charge of the DEA’s Atlanta Field Division. “These partnerships are vital in the war against ‘meth’ and other dangerous drugs. DEA and its law enforcement partners are in the business to save lives and protect communities from the perils of drug abuse.”
Acting U.S. Attorney Estes concurred, singling out the Laurens County Sheriff’s Office for special merit. Laurens County Sheriff Larry Dean, for his part, applauded the teamwork between his Office and the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the DEA and the ATF. ATF Assistant Special Agent in Charge Beau Kolodka also rang out for the team.
And why wouldn’t they? The Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) investigation, dubbed Operation Monroe Doctrine, not only put an end of an extensive meth trafficking conspiracy, it made things a whole lot safer for the folks in Laurens and Telfair counties and beyond.
The Hits Continue
There’s more, of course. Much more. In fact, far too much more to go into depth here. But if you smash the following links, you’ll be able to see more than enough DEA meth busts.
Officials’ Note on the Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force
Most of the above cases are part of the Department of Justice’s Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force program. “The OCDETF program is the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s drug supply reduction strategy,” say officials. “OCDETF was established in 1982 to conduct comprehensive, multilevel attacks on major drug trafficking and money laundering organizations. Today, OCDETF combines the resources and expertise of its member federal agencies in cooperation with state and local law enforcement. The principal mission of the OCDETF program is to identify, disrupt, and dismantle the most serious drug trafficking and money laundering organizations and those primarily responsible for the nation’s illicit drug supply.”
Healing Properties thanks all the U.S. law enforcement agencies who stepped up and made these meth busts. We’re especially grateful for the tireless and devoted manner in which they keep America safe. With addiction now being considered something to be treated and addicts looked at less like an enemy, perhaps we’ll soon see an end to the War on Drugs and instead start reaping the Dividend of Peace. If you’re looking to end your own personal war with drugs, please give us a call.
(Image courtesy DEA)