SIKESTON -- A joint bi-state drug investigation led to the arrest of two men for the distribution of crack-cocaine Thursday in Sikeston.
Vincent Mark Gray, 25, of Carbondale, Ill., and Leonard LaSean Phillips of Charleston were arrested during a "buy-bust operation" at 12:26 p.m. Thursday at the South Point Shopping Center in Sikeston, according to Sikeston Department of Public Safety Director Drew Juden. Officers seized two ounces of crack-cocaine.
Sikeston Department of Public Safety Narcotic Unit worked the undercover investigation with S.E.MO. Drug Task Force, New Madrid County Sheriff's Office, Carbondale Police Department, Drug Enforcement Administration, Missouri National Guard and Southern Illinois Enforcement Group.
During the undercover operation, Gray, who had hopes of establishing a new operation in Sikeston, brought crack-cocaine to Sikeston from Carbondale on multiple occasions where it was exchanged for cash. As a joint effort, the different agencies were applying pressure on Gray's Carbondale operation.
Carbondale Police and the Southern Illinois Enforcement Group made an arrest in connection to Gray, and they also served a search warrant on his residence. Phillips, who is an associate of Gray, was involved in the narcotics transaction at the South Point Shopping Center.
Gray and Phillips were charged with trafficking in the first degree and are being held without bond in the New Madrid County Jail.
Juden commended the New Madrid County Sheriff's Office, especially Sheriff Terry Stevens, and the Carbondale Police for "their full cooperation, hard work and support."
The Sikeston Department of Public Safety's Director Drew Juden encourages anyone with information about this incident or any other crime to call 573
-471-6200 or 573-471-1500. All communications are confidential.