Putnam deputies among those serving Indianapolis search warrants
INDIANAPOLIS -- A Thursday-morning drug bust that resulted in 21 arrests and the seizure of significant quantities of drugs, money and guns included a Putnam County law enforcement presence.
While "Operation Five Dollar Footlong," as authorities called the more than two-year investigation, had no local criminal ties, six Putnam County Sheriff's Department officers were part of the group simultaneously executing 17 federal and state search warrants mainly on the west side of Indianapolis.
While the headline-grabbing element of Thursday's events was the fatal shooting of one of the suspects, none of the Putnam County representatives were at that site, a sheriff's department official told the Banner Graphic.
Instead, the Putnam County units were at sites focused mainly on documents relating to the case.
In an afternoon press conference, U.S. Attorney Joseph Hogsett announced that the operation had dismantled a massive drug trafficking organization in the Indianapolis area.
"In two years, this federal operation has resulted in the seizure of more than 15,000 pounds of marijuana and nearly $5 million in suspected drug proceeds," Hogsett said. "Thanks to the tireless work of our law enforcement partners, we can say today that another dangerous criminal organization has been dismantled in Indianapolis."
Thursday morning's warrants resulted in the seizure of approximately 100 pounds of marijuana, more than 1.5 pounds of methamphetamine, a number of weapons and vehicles and between $80,000 and $100,000 in suspected drug proceeds.
At a site on Beachview Drive, officers were confronted by an armed suspect who ignored verbal commands to lower his weapon. A Carmel police officer then fatally shot the suspect, 36-year-old Jose Guerrero.
Investigators gave the operation its colorful name following the October 2011 search of a tractor-trailer and warehouse that yielded five tons of marijuana and more than $4.3 million in drug proceeds. The investigation was dubbed "Operation Five Dollar Footlong" because the tractor-trailer was carrying a large quantity of sandwich wrappers when it was stopped.
In the two years that followed, agents continued investigating the activities of those involved in the marijuana trafficking organization. Over time, agents uncovered an extensive network of drug activity in the Indianapolis area.
Allegations unsealed Thursday indicate that Mexican suppliers were regularly shipping thousands of pounds of marijuana into Indianapolis.
Once sold, the drug proceeds would be hidden in vehicles and transported to the Mexican border.