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Sheriff’s View #9 for Feb. 22 to 26, 2010
Sheriff’s View #9 for Feb. 22 to 26, 2010

Sheriff J.B. King
Welcome aboard one more time for another trip around Pulaski County with the employees of the Pulaski County Sheriff’s Office. Today our trip will be shared by members of the Waynesville City Police Department for much of the column. I am sure by now that most of you have heard of the massive drug seizure made by Waynesville police this past week. I will address that case at length today in the column.

Let me restate that point. I will address parts of this case in a public forum but there is much that I cannot reveal at this point.

I have heard critical remarks about the drug seizure made by people who felt the officer on the scene should have arrested somebody. The facts are that the first Waynesville officer who sniffed out the illegal activity had no clue as to exactly what was going on. He had three vehicles in close proximity to each other and only one car had people moving toward that vehicle. He went after the people and sent a second Waynesville officer to the car with the trunk up. The second officer discovered the mega-load of drugs and promptly requested all units on duty to respond to the scene. I have not asked him about that request but I would say his first thought would have been that such mega loads of dope frequently have armed guards covering the shipment from another vehicle. I know it would have been my first thought.

I must tell you that the first city officer in this case is one of my former deputies and I am right proud of his actions. It was later determined that the people in the car he went after were not involved in the case, but it turned out that they did witness the actual suspect fleeing the scene on foot and were able to give the officers his direction of travel and explain why the officer did not see him run from the scene.

The seizure amounted to 89 pounds of meth and 99.6 pounds of cocaine. While the amount of cocaine seized might be viewed as a “routine” seizure for law enforcement, the meth is probably going to set the all-time high record. Nobody I know of has ever heard of a bigger meth load seizure in Missouri. The Drug Enforcement Administration sent several agents to the Waynesville Police Department to launch a federal investigation. The DEA agents were here most of Tuesday. As luck would have it, I already had a scheduled meeting set with the ranking DEA officials in Springfield on Wednesday. We completed our scheduled business and we did discuss this case at length. I can tell you for a fact that the DEA has been a busy bunch of beavers working on this case, but until their public information officer returns my call that is all I will say.

Then on Thursday, the drug ditch got dug a little deeper. A Pulaski County deputy made a routine traffic stop on a red 2004 Dodge truck on Highway 17 near Witmor Farms for weaving on the roadway. The driver turned out to have a suspended Missouri driver’s license. As the deputy was talking with him, the driver mentioned that he was looking for a lost friend who was driving a black car. The deputy alertly connected the information and called for backup. Additional deputies and Waynesville police responded to her aid. The suspects were detained on charges and the Waynesville police drug dog strongly alerted to the truck.

The DEA once again responded to our area and continued their investigation. The subjects from the red Dodge pickup were determined to be a “recovery” unit looking for the lost drug shipment. While there is nothing to connect them to the original drug seizure, they both turned out to be illegals and the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency requested that they be held on a federal detainer.

I suspect by now that most of you understand that we had a busy week. I might add that back on Tuesday just a few hours after the big drug seizure, there was a reported meth lab explosion in the Dixon area. At the time, our deputies thought this would somehow turn out to be connected to the big seizure so they swarmed the Dixon area. After an hour or so they learned that it was local activity with the usual suspects involved and that the explosion had been inside the Dixon city limits so our deputies returned to Waynesville. I believe I can say that the two Pulaski County deputies on duty the night of Feb. 16 had a frantic work shift.

As a result of all the drug enforcement activity this past week another incident occurred. On Friday night, I attended the Waynesville-St. Robert Chamber of Commerce Annual Leadership meeting at the St. Robert Community Center. There were a lot of local leaders present who told me during the social hour they were very proud of the work that the law enforcement officers had done in our area. At one point during the event the emcee, Mike Dunbar, also made a series of very passionate remarks of praise for our local law enforcement. The next thing I knew the crowd was standing, looking at me, and applauding.

I want to make it very clear that I was the only active duty law enforcement officer in the room and while the crowd may have been looking my direction the standing ovation was for ALL members of law enforcement working in Pulaski County. I would like to say thank you to the crowd. I was truly touched by your action. I am sure that all of the local officers will also be very pleased when they hear the news.

At this point, there is no way I can compete with or top what I just described. I believe that it is time to close out this column. Please drive with care and please keep your actions legal. We do not need you in our jail but the jail lights work just fine and they are bright and ready for your visit.

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