$1 million meth bust leads to arrest

Gustavo Gene Mendiola, 34, of Maricopa Arizona was arrested Friday after authorities found...
Gustavo Gene Mendiola, 34, of Maricopa Arizona was arrested Friday after authorities found nearly 25 pounds of meth during a traffic stop in Independence County.(Source: Independence County Sheriff's Office)
Published: Jan. 29, 2022 at 12:37 PM CST|Updated: Jan. 29, 2022 at 12:55 PM CST
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BATESVILLE, Ark. (KAIT) - An Arizona man is facing charges after Independence County authorities say they had one of the largest meth seizures in the history of the county, officials said Saturday.

Gustavo Gene Mendiola, 34, of Maricopa County was arrested after authorities found 25 pounds of meth during a traffic stop late Friday evening.

According to 16th Judicial Task Force Commander Geoffrey Watts one of the largest methamphetamine seizures in the...

Posted by 16th Judicial District Drug Task Force on Saturday, January 29, 2022

Authorities also found several pounds of meth during a search of property related to the traffic stop.

A DTF official said on social media that the investigation took several months of research and planning and that authorities believed a large shipment of meth was coming into Independence County Jan. 28.

“These large-scale busts are extremely beneficial to the communities we as law enforcement serve. So many families are directly affected by the addiction of meth, that when 25 pounds is taken off the streets, you can’t help but think it may be the event that stops someone from using. I hope it sends a message to those involved in this kind of activity; to travel here at your own risk. We will not give up and no matter how slick you think you are, we will catch you,” DTF Commander Geoffrey Watts said.

The investigation was done by the 16th Judicial District Drug Task Force, Batesville police and the Independence County Sheriff’s Office, with Batesville police the lead investigating agency.

The meth had a street value of $1,088,620 and authorities also found cocaine in the investigation, Independence County Sheriff Shawn Stephens said.

Mendiola was being held in the Independence County jail, awaiting a probable cause hearing in the drug case.

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