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Tuesday, September 27, 2011

DEA Heroin Busts in Franklin County, Eight Arrested, Search Continues for 103 people in St. Louis region

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Drug Agents Arrest Heroin Suspects in Regional Roundup

By Ed Pruneau, Missourian Managing Editor
September 27, 2011
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Narcotics investigators are hoping that a large-scale regional roundup of criminal suspects Tuesday will help put a dent in heroin trafficking in the Franklin County area.
Officers with the Franklin County Narcotics Enforcement Unit, city police officers and agents with the federal Drug Enforcement Administration had arrested eight people by Tuesday morning on Franklin County charges as part of a larger initiative being staged throughout the St. Louis region.
They were continuing to look for seven more suspects who are named in indictments, said Detective Cpl. Scott Briggs with the county task force.
Throughout the St. Louis region, law enforcement agencies were searching for 103 people who face various charges ranging from simple possession to distribution of heroin, according to a DEA agent working with the county drug task force.
"We're hoping this may have an effect on the heroin trafficking out here," Briggs said. "We continue to find heroin and hear about it being sold in this area."
Most of the heroin showing up in Franklin County comes from St. Louis.
Tuesday's regional operation extends as far north as Lincoln County and east into Illinois. At least one suspect was being sought in the Columbia area in Boone County, Briggs said.
Briggs said in Franklin County the operation began Monday afternoon with the arrest of a man and woman during a traffic stop and started up again at 6 a.m. Tuesday when officers armed with grand jury indictments signed by Circuit Judge Gael Wood began picking up suspects.
Monday afternoon's stop resulted in the arrest of 26-year-old Jesse C. Brewer of Beaufort and Brandi McAfee, 26, Marthasville, Briggs said. Both are on probation in prior felony cases, he noted. Investigators plan to seek charges of felony possession of drug paraphernalia against Brewer and possession and distribution of heroin against McAfee, Briggs said.

Indicted
Following are the suspects named in Franklin County indictments:
• Zachary Q. Breeden, 21, Union, two counts of possession of heroin, one count of possession of drug paraphernalia and one count of littering, $20,000 bond.
• Jefrey E. Brown, 31, St. Clair, one count of possession of heroin, $10,000 bond.
• Michael H. Smith, 28, Washington, one count of distribution of heroin and one count of possession of drug paraphernalia, $15,000 bond.
• Nicholas J. Kunderer, 30, Washington, one count of possession of heroin, $20,000 bond.
• Tony S. Ward, 25, Arnold, distribution of heroin, $25,000 bond.
• Raymond A. Bell, 29, Washington, possession of heroin, $7,500 bond.

Briggs said Kunderer, Ward and Bell currently are in custody in the Missouri Department of Corrections in previous felony cases. Law enforcement authorities will seek detainers on them, he noted.
Names of the other suspects being sought in the operation here were not released because grand jury indictments, by law, are sealed until served on a defendant.
Some of the charges here date from 2009 through 2011, Briggs noted.
The coordinated regional operation involved more than 150 local and federal officers. Arrests were made in St. Louis city and St. Charles, St. Louis, Franklin, Jefferson and Lincoln counties in Missouri and in Madison and St. Clair counties in Illinois.
For at least the last two years, this area has seen a surge in the availability and purity of the drug. The more potent heroin on the street now is responsible for a growing number of overdoses and overdose deaths in the last couple of years.
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