Local participation alleged in multi-state drug trafficking
An Aurora man has been indicted along with five other southern Missouri residents by a federal grand jury in Federal District Court in Springfield for a multi-state operation involving multi-pound shipments of methamphetamine.
Jason C. Brookshire, 37, of Aurora, was one of 15 defendants named in the indictment for a conspiracy to transport meth from Arizona to Missouri. Other area defendants included Gregory L. Hopper, 34, and Amanda L. Robinson, 27, both of Springfield; Leslie T. Ray, 49, and Melissa D. Melencamp, 42, both of Branson; and Olivia L. Fluke, 34, of Reeds Spring.
The grand jury also indicted four from Tucson, Arizona, two from New Mexico, and others from Texas and Mountain Home, Ark. Two of the Arizona subjects had been indicted on March 26, and those charges were superseded by the latest ground jury.
The federal indictment alleges that all 15 defendants participated in a conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine in Greene, Christian, Polk, and Taney counties from June 2017 to March 18, 2019.
According to an affidavit filed in support of the original criminal complaint, the investigation began when law enforcement officer seized nearly two pounds of methamphetamine from a Branson hotel room. The subject in that arrest, Manual Edgardo Cortez, also known as "Manny," 44, of Tucson, Ariz., allegedly used couriers to transport multi-pound loads of methamphetamine from Arizona to Branson. On several of those trips, says the affidavit, couriers transported 15-pound loads of methamphetamine.
On Feb. 20, 2019, Arizona state troopers seized approximately eight pounds of methamphetamine from Arnold during a traffic stop near Phoenix, the affidavit states. The methamphetamine allegedly was supplied by Cortez and destined for Springfield.
Seven subjects face additional charges related to the distribution of meth. Three face charges for possession of firearms as part of a drug trafficking crime.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Abram McGull II. It was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; Immigration and Custom Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HIS); the Branson Police Department the Christian County Sheriff's Department; the Ozark Police Department; the Springfield Police Department; the Missouri State Highway Patrol; the Silver City, N.M., Police Department; and the Oklahoma Highway Patrol.