Comments Off on Better Meth from Mexico now in the Ozarks – Documents detail how highly potent Mexican Meth was trafficked

Discussing important details over the telephone was discouraged, documents say, in a large Mexican meth organization whose members met at — and allegedly moved drugs through — locations in Springfield, Ozark, Morrisville and beyond.

Juan Moreno-Malagon
 Juan Moreno-Malagon
 
Michael D. Eckhoff
Michael D. Eckhoff
 
Valentin Gomez-Torres
Valentin Gomez-Torres
 
Jesus Moreno- Malagon
 Jesus Moreno- Malagon
 
Luis Ramon-Lara
Luis Ramon-Lara
 
Rita Jo Vera
Rita Jo Vera
 
Timothy J. Williams
Timothy J. Williams
 

Arrangements for drug or money exchanges should only be discussed in person, some members later told police.

According to federal court documents, these meetings often occurred at “the farm” or “the stash house,” although the tentacles of the meth-importing organization allegedly snaked throughout southwest Missouri.

A bag of ice, the purer, more expensive form of meth.

A bag of ice, the purer, more expensive form of meth.
 

The “stash house”

During summer surveillance of this single story house, 4206 W. Mesa Street in Battlefield, federal authorities say they followed and arrested the driver of a vehicle leaving the property. In his car, authorities say they found a half pound of nearly pure methamphetamine.

4206 W. Mesa Street in Battlefield Mo. on Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2013.

4206 W. Mesa Street in Battlefield Mo.

The driver, not named in documents, told authorities he had been buying meth from the Mexican drug organization since May 2011 – about one pound per week.

The man said he had bought large amounts of meth, records say, from both Noe Moreno-Malagon and Juan Moreno-Malagon.

Records with the Greene County Assessor’s Office show the property belongs — according to current available records — to Sandra Flores of Branson. Flores is not named in any public court document connected to the meth investigation and a telephone number was not available Wednesday.

“The farm”

Also known as “the shop,” 431 Riverdale Road in Ozark, was identified in an arrest affidaivit as the home of Noe Moreno-Malagon.

On Feb. 13, 2012, coded conversations led officers to believe a drug-related meeting would occur between Juan Moreno-Malagon and a man who was not named in the documents.

Surveillance units observed the meeting between the two at the Ozark address and followed the man as he drove from the farm.

Authorities stopped and searched the vehicle and found one pound of methamphetamine behind the driver’s seat, documents say. Laboratory analysis showed the meth was 97.5 percent pure.  Similar exchanges were documented on March 27 and April 12.

During the investigation period, the property was owned by the Glen Farris Hensley Trust of Ozark, according to the Christian County Assessor’s Office.

Other properties

On Dec. 3, 2012, a federal search was executed at 1331 559th Road in Morrisville. The warrant was granted based, in part, on intercepted wiretap communications of Noe Moreno-Malagon’s telephone, according to the court documents.

During the search, a pound of meth was located, documents say, in a room occupied by Luis A. Ramon-Lara. Authorities also allegedly seized $6,700 in cash, a shotgun and a .25-caliber handgun.

According to the Polk County Assessor’s Office, that property has four owners: Jose and Maria Angel, as well as Martin and Guillermina Zuniga.

Martin Zuniga is one of six Springfield-area men who were killed in a semi versus pickup crash near Jamestown, N.D. on Dec. 26.

His brother, Felipe Zuniga, does not believe Martin was aware of any drug activity on the property where about 10 horses are stabled.

Felipe Zuniga said his brother only visited the stables about once or twice per month.

Felipe Zuniga said a man named Luis was once hired by his brother to take care of the horses on the property but was fired when Martin Zuniga suspected the man of “doing something crooked.”

Other meetings are believed to have occurred at addresses in Monett and Branson West, as well as restaurants, hotels, and parking lots in Springfield.

Alleged members of the meth organization were indicted by a federal grand jury Dec. 14. For about two years, officials say, the organization had been importing and distributing drugs throughout southwest Missouri.

After months of surveillance, nine people were indicted in December by a federal grand jury: Noe Moreno-Malagon, 35, Juan Moreno-Malagon, 38, Jesus Moreno-Malagon, 55, Valentin Gomez-Torres, 26, Luis A. Ramon-Lara, 32, Timothy J. Williams, 47, Paul E. Allen, 57, Michael D. Eckhoff, 51, and Rita J. Vera, 34.

http://www.news-leader.com/article/20130117/NEWS01/301170048/alleged-meth-traffickers-mexico-ozarks

A local investigator assigned to the DEA says the recent bust of a large scale Mexican drug organization points to a trend: high quality, potent meth from Mexico replacing lower quality, locally-produced drugs.

“They can produce better meth in Mexico; It’s supply and demand,” said Sgt. Dan Banasik, one of several Springfield-based officers involved in the local investigation.

Alleged members of the meth organization were indicted by a federal grand jury Dec. 14.

For about two years, officials say, the organization had been importing and distributing drugs throughout Springfield and southwest Missouri.

Shipments of nearly pure meth were brought by vehicle to the Springfield area in multi-kilogram quantities, according to court documents filed against nine alleged conspirators.

All nine were arraigned earlier this month. Most remain in the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service.

The meth, authorities say, was broken down, processed and distributed across Greene, Christian, and Polk counties, according to the federal affidavits.

Authorities used wiretaps, surveillance and confidential informants to gather information about the drug organization.

Attempting to thwart detection, members of the drug organization regularly changed cell phone numbers and communicated in code­­ — often using the terms “horses” or “ponies” in reference to methamphetamine, according to the documents.

The investigation began in Texas on June 14, 2011, when a trooper in the Texas Highway Patrol seized four kilograms of methamphetamine from a “courier” on his way to Springfield, according to the documents.

Information on the courier’s phone led law enforcement to believe the meth was on it’s way to individuals in the Springfield area.

After months of surveillance, nine people were indicted in December by a federal grand jury: Noe Moreno-Malagon, 35, Juan Moreno-Malagon, 38, Jesus Moreno-Malagon, 55, Valentin Gomez-Torres, 26, Luis A. Ramon-Lara, 32, Timothy J. Williams, 47, Paul E. Allen, 57, Michael D. Eckhoff, 51, and Rita J. Vera, 34.

Authorities in Springfield believe Noe Moreno-Malagon traveled to Mexico while his brother, Juan Moreno-Malagon took over the distribution of drugs.

One informant not named in documents told authorities he began purchasing methamphetamine from the organization in May 2011. His first purchase was for a quarter pound but the quantity quickly grew to one pound of methamphetamine per week, according to the documents.

In one transaction in March 2012, the unnamed informant paid $13,000 to Juan Moreno-Malagon and obtained a quarter pound of methamphetamine — labs tests showed it to be 100 percent pure.

The case was investigated by agents in the Drug Enforcement Administration, Missouri Resident Office, the Missouri State Highway Patrol, and the Springfield Police Department.

The case at a glance

Authorities say:
• The meth organization kept a “stash” house in Battlefield.
• Meetings and large drug deals occurred at addresses in Monett, Ozark, Branson and Morrisville, as well as restaurants, hotels, and parking lots in Springfield.
• Samples of the meth were tested and shown to be at or near 100 percent pure.
• The organization has been operating in the area for more than two years.

http://www.news-leader.com/article/20130115/NEWS01/301150115/meth-from-mexico-flooding-ozarks?odyssey=nav|head

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