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Sunday, Aug. 28, 2016

Drug Task Force dismantles local narcotics ring

Sunday, March 24, 2002

BLOOMFIELD - An ongoing narcotics investigation initiated on Jan. 28 by members of the SEMO Drug Task Force led to the discovery and dismantling of a methamphetamine and marijuana distribution ring. Investigators learned that the ring, based in Blytheville, Ark., had several distribution points in Southeast Missouri to include Dexter.

SEMO Drug Task Force officers and a Stoddard County deputy made six undercover purchases of methamphetamine from John T. Hayes, 36, and Melanie Smith, 32, of Caruthersville. The purchases ranged from 1/8 to 1/4 ounces of methamphetamine. The final purchase was made on Feb. 15 from Hayes when he delivered 1/4 ounce of methamphetamine to undercover officers in Dexter.

Hayes was confronted and agreed to cooperate with officers. He gave consent to a search of his residence. A small quantity of methamphetamine and marijuana were seized during the search.

Then on Feb. 19, officers from the SEMO Drug Task Force utilized Hayes and conducted a controlled purchase of 1/2 ounce of methamphetamine from his supplier, Harold Bobby Reno Jr., 34, of Steele. An anticipatory search warrant was issued by members of the Bootheel Drug Task Force and Missouri State Highway Patrol at Reno's residence just west of Steele. Approximately 1/2 ounce of methamphetamine, 1/2 pound of marijuana, one handgun, drug paraphernalia and $3,030 in currency were seized.

The suspects continued to assist law enforcement officials with the investigation. On Feb. 21, members of the Bootheel Drug Task Force and SEMO Drug Task Force utilized Reno and arrangements were made for his source to deliver one ounce of methamphetamine and one pound of marijuana. William F. Butterfield Jr., 36, of Blytheville, conducted a transaction with Reno that evening. Reno paid Butterfield, $2,100 for one ounce of methamphetamine and one pound of marijuana. Butterfield was immediately confronted and his wife, Johnna Butterfield, 32, also of Blytheville, was found to be in possession of an additional one ounce of methamphetamine.

Butterfield also agreed to cooperate and a multi-state investigation continues into the distribution of methamphetamine and marijuana into his source in Blytheville. The source has been identified as L.B. Coleman, 26, who is said to be a high level drug dealer in Blytheville.

Coleman was arrested Thursday in Blytheville by detectives with the Blytheville Police Department on a Stoddard County warrant for distribution of a controlled substance (methamphetamine) in Dexter. Other co-conspirators are expected to be arrested in the near future.

A drug trafficking organization has been stopped from distributing methamphetamine from Blytheville to Steele to Caruthersville and to Dexter. The Drug Enforcement Administration also assisted in this investigation.