Nearly two dozen local residents have been arrested for their alleged connection to the sale of illegal drugs.
In a joint effort of the Buchanan County Drug Strike Force, the St. Joseph Police Department and the Drug Enforcement Administration, 18 individuals were arrested on state felony drug warrants stemming from investigations focused primarily on the sales of methamphetamine, marijuana and prescription pills, said Capt. Mike Donaldson with the Buchanan County Drug Strike Force. An additional five people were arrested after a long-term investigation involving methamphetamine distribution.
“All these investigations are somewhat related, but there is not a direct connection to all of them,” Mr. Donaldson said. “We actually had a total of 30 warrants, so the investigation is (ongoing) and there are more arrests to be made.”
Over the course of 12 to 18 months, multiple agencies worked together on the cases.
The 18 suspects arrested on state warrants are Leo Ballard, Caleb Blackburn, Cary Dennis, Richard Dulan, Gregory Fairchild, Jessica K. Faulkner, Christopher Faulkner, Jerry Grippando, Danell J. Guffey, Amanda Hughes, Tracy L. Keith, Joey Mace, Clay Novak, Bradley Perry, Tracy Roacha, Laura Roacha, Jarem Weldon and Cathy Wells.
Five suspects arrested on federal warrants are Shannon Martinez, Joshua Jensen, Jimmy Hargrave, Ricky Billings and Shawn Hatfield.
Warrants have been issued for another seven individuals for their alleged connection to the drug investigations. Mr. Donaldson remained confident in successfully completing the investigations.
“I classify drugs as a danger for the community, but we can never predict how individuals will react,” Mr. Donaldson said. “(This) will have a big impact, but there is a lot more work to be done.”