The Evansville-Vanderburgh County Drug Task Force detectives arrested three men early Monday morning for allegedly running a drug trafficking organization. Detectives seized nearly $65,000 in narcotics including more than a pound of methamphetamine and 25 pounds of marijuana, according to a probable cause affidavit.
Brothers Carl and Jason Young from Odessa, Tex. and Frank Koch of Evansville are in the Vanderburgh County Jail facing drug trafficking charges. The investigation started in late 2014 and early 2015 when detectives received information that Koch and others were using his pallet business at 2203 N. Kentucky Ave. to receive and distribute narcotics, according to the affidavit. Over the course of the last year, detectives reported seeing heavy, short term vehicle traffic coming and going from the business during non-business hours, according to the affidavit.
Over the weekend, detectives received additional information that Koch was having meth and marijuana shipped to him using rental vehicles from Texas. Around 12:30 Monday morning, detectives reportedly observed the Young brothers arrive at Koch’s business .
When approached by detectives, Koch slammed the overhead door and ran back inside the business, according to the affidavit. However, a detective caught up with Koch at the front of the business and detained him.
Detectives also approached the rental car and detained the Youngs.
After applying for an executing two search warrants, detectives seized more than a pound of meth that was hidden inside the spare tire on the rental car, according to the affidavit. Detectives also found 24 pounds of marijuana inside the spare tire and an additional pound of marijuana hidden inside a soda machine, according to the affidavit. Koch allegedly told authorities that he had ordered 24 pounds of marijuana and the Youngs were delivering it to him. However, Koch denied any involvement with the methamphetamine.
Detectives also seized nearly $7000 in cash, according to the affidavit.
While Koch’s business appeared legitimate from the outside, authorities believe it was a front for the alleged drug trafficking enterprise.
“[Koch] used the business as the actual location where he’d conduct his transactions of his drugs for the money,” said Capt. Andy Chandler. “This is a very good bust.”
The street value of the seized narcotics amounts of an estimated $64,000. Not only does the bust put a dent in the local drug market, it might lower the number of other crimes commonly associated with drug rings.
“[When] you have a drug enterprise, those people that are trying to secure the funding or the money to go buy their drugs, they commit a various number of crimes to get the money so they can purchase their drugs,” Capt. Chandler said. “Not only do we take out the distributors in this case, which is always significant, but you also take out the drugs off the street. That eliminates the market which also eliminates the peripheral crimes.”
For roughly the past year, the amount of homegrown meth manufactured using the one-pot method has declined, Captain Chandler said. It’s due in large part to increased awareness and enforcement, Capt. Chandler said. However, the void in the supply of meth has created a market for crystal meth, typically smuggled from Mexico.
“It has now become cheaper to go ahead and purchase it from out of state and transport it in that it is to take on some of the risk of cooking locally,” Capt. Chandler said. “That’s one of the reasons why we’re seeing an influx in the out of state meth coming up here.”