SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- A federal drug task force brought charges Friday and Monday against six men from southwest Missouri who are suspected of importing methamphetamine from California and Mexico and selling it in this area. All five of the men were in custody by Tuesday.
The charges are against Noe Moreno-Malagon of Ozark, Juan Moreno-Malagon of Highlandville, Jesus Moreno-Malagon of Ozark, Valentin Gomez-Torres of Battlefield, Luis Ramon-Lara, and James Earl Gunnell.
The charges say the men distributed “in excess of 50 grams of actual methamphetamine” over the past two years. A task force with officers from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, the Missouri State Highway Patrol and the Springfield Police Department has been investigating them.
According to an affidavit that is the basis of the charges, the group brought in meth in shipments of four kilograms (nearly nine pounds) on each trip to California and Mexico. Once it arrived in the Ozarks, it was broken down, processed and distributed in “multi-ounce to partial ounce quantities.” The affidavit says an informant paid $13,000 on at least two occasions for about one-quarter pound of pure and nearly pure meth to Juan Moreno-Malagon and Jesus Moreno-Malagon.