Franklin County narcotics detectives made more arrests last week in the ongoing battle to curb the flow of crystal methamphetamine into the area.
Members of the Franklin County Narcotics Enforcement Unit have been working closely with other federal and local police agencies in attempting to track down and block the source of a flood of crystal meth, which is being smuggled here from “super labs” in Mexico then dispersed in several Midwest states.
Detective Cpl. Scott Briggs of the task force said officers obtained information and raided a mobile home at 1608 East Springfield Road, east of Sullivan, Friday. Two men and a woman were arrested.
The men, James M. Owens, 35, Sunset Hills, and John C. Smith, 36, Sullivan, were both charged with unlawful possession of firearms. Their bonds were set at $20,000 cash-only on the felony charges.
They also face the prospect of felony drug charges pending analysis of evidence found in their possession, Briggs said.
When officers searched the home they seized approximately one-quarter ounce of crystal meth along with two handguns and paraphernalia for using and selling the drug, according to Briggs.
He said when officers knocked on the front door, a man, identified as Owens, and a woman ran out the back door but were caught. Both had suspected meth in their possession, Briggs said. The woman, Miranda Burkhart, 24, Bourbon, was jailed on an outstanding warrant from St. Louis County, he noted.
Owens had suspected meth inside a necklace he was wearing.
“That was a first,” Briggs commented.
Inside the home, officers found Smith and another woman who was not identified because she does not have pending charges.
Two children, both under the age of 3, also were in the home. Briggs said they were placed in protective custody.
Both Owens and Smith have prior felony convictions. Smith currently is on parole from the state of California, Briggs said. Owens is currently on probation for first-degree arson and distributing/manufacturing a controlled substance.
Rise of Crystal
As the success of regulating the sales of medicines containing pseudoephedrine increased in Missouri over the past few years, investigators began seeing the shift from homemade meth to imported crystal meth.
Earlier this year, drug task force officers reported seeing a flood of crystal meth onto the local drug scene.
Back in March, the task force arrested four people in a conspiracy to distribute the drug and seized more than 1 1/4 pounds of crystal.
In early May, another Franklin County man was arrested with more than 7 ounces of crystal. He is under investigation in a larger conspiracy to distribute the drug.