Stoddard County Authorities Help Break Up Drug Ring

BLOOMFIELD, MO - Stoddard County Sheriff Carl Hefner says February was a good month for his department.

Hefner says a major methamphetamine operation based in Springfield was shut down due in part to the efforts of his deputies.

The Sheriff says it all began when a Stoddard County deputy made a traffic stop inside the Puxico city limits.  The traffic violation soon turned into a narcotics investigation when the deputy discovered meth and guns in the vehicle.  Both the driver and passenger were arrested on drug charges and taken to the Stoddard County jail.

An agent with the SEMO Drug Task Force interviewed the two suspects the following day and learned one of them "had a great deal of knowledge of what he described as a 'Mexican drug cartel.'"  The federal DEA then became involved in the investigation.

Follow-up investigation resulted in the arrests of five Hispanic suspects.  With those arrests, authorities seized 300 grams of methamphetamine when a search warrant was served, as well as more than $7,000 in cash, two automobiles, and a house.

In a separate investigation, two men from the St. Louis area were arrested by the SEMO DTF on charges related to the distribution of meth.  The suspects are identified as 26-year-old Kerry Schmidt and 40-year-old Thomas Patrick.