A local man has been arrested on a federal indictment charging alleged members of a major drug trafficking ring with federal crimes.
The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), United States Marshals Service, and multiple law enforcement agencies arrested 15 people, including five St. Louis area residents on Tuesday on charges that they conspired to distribute methamphetamine, cocaine, heroin, and fentanyl.
Among the individuals arrested were David Henderson, 58, of Bonne Terre, who has been charged with conspiring to knowingly and intentionally possess a controlled substance with the intent to distribute. Henderson has several prior drug convictions.
Another four men from the surrounding region arrested Tuesday on federal charges included Randall Bryant, 48, of De Soto; Miguel Silva-Torres, Jr., 31, of St. Ann; Frank Stogsdill, Sr., 57, of O’Fallon; and Royce Spann, 35, of St. Louis.
The five men were added in a sealed superseding indictment dated Jan. 9, that details the seizures of drugs, money, and firearms from the group. The indictment was unsealed Tuesday following the arrests.
The men arrested Tuesday are now co-defendants of Ramon Gonzalez, 47, of St. Peters, who was charged in April 2019.
According to the superseding indictment, the conspiracy reached nearly halfway across the country and included significant seizures in St. Louis, Kansas City, and California. The investigation culminated in April and May of 2019, with the seizure of more than $150,000 in May alone.
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“As [the] unsealed indictment demonstrates, when someone chooses to sell drugs, support or join a drug trafficking organization that distributes drugs, there is an entire network of federal, state and local law enforcement officers ready to stop them,” said U.S. Attorney Jeffrey B. Jensen. “In the last year, this office has doubled the number of federal firearm and drug-related prosecutions as a result of cooperative and wide-reaching investigations like this.”
The multiple law enforcement agencies involved in this investigation are hailing the indictments as another victory and a step toward curbing violence and illegal drug use in the region.
“We know there is a correlation between drugs and violence in the St. Louis Metro area. This is the kind of drug and weapons trafficking criminal organization the DEA, along with our law enforcement partners, seek to dismantle,” said DEA St. Louis Field Division Special Agent in Charge William Callahan. “By taking out the entire organization with operations extending beyond Missouri’s borders, these charges today are another step toward making the St. Louis Metro area a safer place.”
St. Charles County Prosecuting Attorney Tim Lohmar added, “On behalf of the St. Charles County Regional Drug Task Force, we are extremely proud to have worked in partnership with the DEA in bringing down one of the largest drug distribution networks in our region’s history.”
Echoing those sentiments was Chief Rick Struttmann of the St. Peters Police Department, who noted, “The St. Peters Police Department is appreciative of the collaborative efforts and partnership between the DEA and state and local law enforcement officers.
“Operations of this nature are a clear demonstration of how federal, state and local task forces work when it comes to identifying and arresting criminals who are willing to participate in the distribution of controlled substances in our communities,” said the chief. “These investigative efforts have a great impact on making our communities safer.”
More information will be released as the case progresses through the U.S. District Court system.