Comments Off on Marion County Sheriff’s Department Investigators break up area Methamphetaminering, arrest 18 women and men

Police have arrested 18 people in connection to a methamphetamine manufacturing and distributing ring based in Centralia.

Marion County Sheriff’s Department detective Ryan Castleman said it’s not unusual to see such a large group because it takes many people to acquire enough meth ingredients without being discovered.

Dneiz_AuSt_98 1bM05Z_AuSt_98 ZyoKw_AuSt_98

One or two meth cooks will employ an army of “smurfs,” the name they use for people whose job it is to collect pseudoephedrine, a drug common in cold medicine used to make meth. To try to stop the manufacture of the illegal drug, the government only allows small amounts of pseudoephedrine to be purchased at one time by an individual.


“This bust consisted of several small conspiracies,” Castleman said. “Groups usually consisted of one or two ‘cooks’ and several people who gather pseudoephedrine and other materials needed to manufacture the drug. A meth cook could have as many as 50 smurfs.”

The following are in custody on charges related to meth manufacture and distribution:

Daniel L. Gazdik, 50, and Sara Rose Davis, 33, both of Centralia; Brian Fear, 40, Misty Fear, 31, Katelyn Woolever, 21, Joseph Smith, 34, and Rachel Reeve, all of Centralia; Michael Flanagan, 41, Sandoval; Dusty Gambill, 39, Central City, Kathy Tomes, 61, Sandoval; David Altom, 41, Odin; Jayme Barnes, 35, Odin; James Horton, 48, Centralia; Destry Wood, 51, and Shelonda Shackleford, 26, both of Centralia; Craig Heitkamp, 50, Centralia; and Franklin and Deana Johnson, of Centralia.

Castleman said Gazdik, Flanagan, Gambill, Wood, Johnson and Brian and Misty Fear were the cooks.

Assistant U.S. Attorney James Porter said authorities hope the arrests put a large dent in the drug trade in Southern Illinois.

“We have traditionally done large scale cases of 18-20 people and it seems to slow things down for a while,” Porter said. “But it seems like there are always people who are willing to step up and take their business when you take down a large group. We’re hoping this prosecution will make an impact for some time.”

Castleman said he believes this ring was distributing its product only in the Centralia area and that much of it was being used by the people who were making the meth.


“The cooks make enough methamphetamine to supply their buyers and themselves,” Castleman said. “Its rare in a local setting such as ours to find a meth cook who is not a methamphetamine user.”

In addition to making and selling meth, some of the suspects were also distributing heroin, police said.






Comments are closed.