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What police are calling a major drug bust began in Louisville on Tuesday and ended up with the ringleader being arrested in Shelbyville.
What’s more, police say they believe the five packages of crystal methamphetamine seized were not manufactured locally but in Mexico.
The bust involved three police agencies, Louisville Metro, Jeffersontown Police Department and Shelbyville police departments, as well as federal agents who found nearly four pounds of crystal meth and thousands of dollars in cash at a house on 128 Kentucky St., where they arrested Martel Jaimes-Alaniz, 30.
Jaimes-Alaniz was charged with possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine.
Two others who lived with him, Manuel Salazar-Diaz, 22, and Imelda Diaz-Chavez, 25, were arrested as well, and charged with criminal possession of a forged instrument, Shelbyville Police Chief Bob Schutte said.
They are lodged at the Shelby County Detention Center, but Jaimes-Alaniz was taken into federal custody.
The meth seized was not cut, was pure and had “been brought in from Mexico,” Schutte said.
“The person was high up, and it appears this was going to be a distribution hub for the Louisville area,” he said at Shelbyville City Council meeting Thursday night. “It was one of the largest drug busts in this area.”
Schutte told The Sentinel-NewsFriday that an investigation had been under way for some time but that a traffic stop on Tuesday brought everything to a head.
That’s when police in Jefferson County pulled over a vehicle at Denver Lane and Mariemont Road, in southwestern Jefferson County, and, after discovering meth, arrested the two men in the car, Perez Morales More and Ismael Enrique More.
Information from the two men led officers from there to Kentucky Street, where they discovered Jaimes-Alaniz and the meth they believe was intended for distribution. Police also confiscated an assault rifle and a .45-caliber handgun.
During the arrest of Jaimes-Alaniz, police gathered information that led them to a rental house on Lower River Road in Louisville, where they discovered $28,000 in the attic and a small amount of drugs, Schutte said.
“Alaniz cooperated and gave up everything at that point,” Schutte said.
The resident on Lower River Road, whose name Schutte said he did not know, was taken into custody as well, bringing the total number arrested to six.
Schutte said the Kentucky Street bust was absolutely one of the largest crystal meth busts in this area.
“Federal agents said this is one of the largest amounts of crystal meth they’ve ever recovered in this area,” he said. “The meth was found in five separate packages.”
Schutte said he would put the street value of the meth at around $240,000. He said that crystal meth has not been found in this area traditionally, but this incident could be the turning point.
“It’s obvious that it’s starting to become more prevalent now,” he said.
Schutte said police suspect that Jaimes-Alaniz is in the country illegally and his roommates as well.
“We have contacted customs enforcement, and they will be making that determination,” he said.
Bust near Vigo Road
Another drug bust took place on Thursday morning in the area Vigo Road.
A spokesman for Kentucky State Police said that bust was worked by the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office, but information about that was unavailable because neither Sheriff Mike Armstrong nor his detectives were at their office or returned repeated phone calls from The Sentinel-News.
Schutte said, however, that bust was not related to the one on Kentucky Street.
About crystal meth
Crystal methamphetamine is a colorless, odorless form of d-methamphetamine, a powerful and highly addictive synthetic stimulant that typically resembles small fragments of glass or shiny blue-white "rocks" of various sizes. Like its powdered form, crystal meth is abused because of the long-lasting euphoric effects it produces, but it typically has a higher purity level, producing even longer-lasting and more intense physiological effects than the powdered form.
Commonly called glass or ice, crystal meth, previously much more common on the west coast, is becoming increasingly available throughout the United States. The drug is often is compared to crack cocaine, and chronic abuse can cause psychotic and violent behavior characterized by intense paranoia, visual and auditory hallucinations, and out-of-control rages. It is typically smoked using a pipe, or by injection.
Crystal Meth brings a higher price than the powdered form. Nationwide, the cost of 1-pound quantities of crystal methamphetamine ranges from $10,000 to $30,000, compared with $3,500 to $20,000 for powdered methamphetamine. The DEA Southwest Laboratory reports that the purity of powdered methamphetamine samples from Arizona, California, and Nevada averages 35 percent; however, it is not uncommon for the purity of crystal methamphetamine samples to exceed 90 percent.
Drugs facts are from the National Drug Intelligence Center in Washington (www.justice.gov/ndic).