MONETT — A shipment of more than 30 pounds of methamphetamine discovered at a truck stop in Oklahoma City has been tracked to southwest Missouri, where six men were arrested after a vehicle containing the drugs was delivered.
Two of the suspects were charged in federal court in Springfield with conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine, The Joplin Globe reported.
Canadian County, Okla., sheriff's deputies conducting routine surveillance of truck stops became suspicious Oct. 11 of a 2004 Ford Explorer loaded at the back of a vehicle hauler at a truck stop near Interstate 40 in Oklahoma City.
The driver of the hauler presented paperwork showing the vehicle was picked up from "Armando" in Huntington Park, Calif., and was to be delivered to "Ernie" in Monett, but was registered to a third man in Denver, according to court documents.
Deputies discovered a concealed compartment beneath the rear flooring of the Explorer and found 15 bundles of meth. Oklahoma authorities initially estimated the shipment at 43 pounds with a street value of $2.3 million, but an affidavit filed by a Drug Enforcement Administration agent estimated the weight at about 30 pounds.
The DEA office in Springfield obtained a warrant to track the driver and his load to Monett. Most of the drugs were removed from the vehicle, and the driver and truck were taken to Joplin so a tracking device could be installed.
The driver then was sent to Monett to make the scheduled delivery. There, he was met in a Lowe's parking lot by a man who gave him $800 for the keys to the Explorer, the affidavit said.
The man drove off with the DEA and the Missouri State Highway Patrol tracking him both by airplane and unmarked vehicles, according to the affidavit. Agents served a search warrant that day at the home where the vehicle was taken, seizing $33,000 in cash, a handgun, 3.5 grams of meth and a ledger containing names, telephone numbers and currency figures.
The driver of the car hauler was arrested, along with five men at the residence.
Jaime Gonzalez-Alvarado, 32, and Camilo Acosta Jr., 20, were charged in federal court Wednesday in connection with the operation in Monett. Attorneys listed in online court documents for Gonzalez-Alvarado and Acosta were not immediately available for comment over the weekend.