SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Six southern Missouri residents are among 15 defendants indicted by a federal grand jury for their roles in a large-scale methamphetamine conspiracy that involved multi-pound shipments of methamphetamine transported from Arizona to Missouri.
The federal indictment alleges that all 15 defendants participated in a conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine in Greene, Christian, Polk, and Taney counties from June 2017 to March 18, 2019.
According to an affidavit filed in support of the original criminal complaint, the investigation began when law enforcement officers seized nearly two pounds of methamphetamine, allegedly supplied by Cortez, from a Branson hotel room. Cortez allegedly used couriers to move large loads of methamphetamine from Arizona to Branson. On several of those trips, says the affidavit, couriers transported 15-pound loads of methamphetamine.
On Feb. 20, 2019, Arizona state troopers seized approximately eight pounds of methamphetamine from Arnold during a traffic stop near Phoenix, the affidavit says. The methamphetamine allegedly was supplied by Cortez and destined for Springfield.
In addition to the drug-trafficking conspiracy, the defendants are charged in individual counts related to the distribution of methamphetamine.
Among charges for drug-trafficking, several defendants were also charged for possessing several illegal firearms including assault rifles, various handguns, and a shotgun.
The charges contained in this indictment are simply accusations and not evidence of guilt. Evidence supporting the charges must be presented to a federal trial jury, whose duty is to determine guilt or innocence.
This is an edited press release.