Feds announce largest drug seizure in Owensboro history

Feds announce largest drug seizure in Owensboro history

OWENSBORO, Ky. (WFIE) - Federal and local authorities announced what they call the largest drug seizure in the history of Owensboro.

The seizure includes 151 pounds of meth, which they say is half a million doses.

It also includes fentanyl laced pills, and a large number of weapons.

According to the criminal complaints, from September 2020 to now, federal and local investigative agencies have conducted a long term investigation into the Willie Watkins Drug Trafficking Organization (DTO) believed to be trafficking in methamphetamine, counterfeit pharmaceutical pills believed to contain fentanyl, and marijuana.

According to the criminal complaints, between January 6, 2021, and January 11, 2021, Willie Watkins, age 30 of Owensboro, Kentucky coordinated the purchase of approximately 150 pounds of suspected methamphetamine with an unidentified man, located in the Los Angeles, California area, and counterfeit pills containing suspected fentanyl from a source in the Phoenix, Arizona area.

According to the complaints, on January 11, 2021, members of the DEA from multiple districts and local law enforcement conducted a traffic stop on a vehicle being operated by another suspected member of the Watkins DTO in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, as the vehicle travelled from Arizona toward the Western District of Kentucky.

During a search of the vehicle, law enforcement say they recovered: approximately one-hundred fifty-one (151) pounds of crystal methamphetamine, approximately three and one-half (3.5) pounds of counterfeit pharmaceutical pills suspected of containing fentanyl (contained in Ziploc bags), approximately twenty-one (21) pounds of marijuana, approximately nine (9) pounds of THC edibles, approximately fourteen (14) pounds of THC related vape products, and approximately one (1) gram of ecstasy.

After learning of the stop, as monitored by law enforcement over judicially authorized intercepts over Willie Watkins’ telephone, they say Watkins made several calls to multiple individuals discussing the seizure of the narcotics by law enforcement and the calculated amount of money he had lost as a result.

Federal and local law enforcement executed multiple search warrants at locations associated with the Watkins DTO in Owensboro, Kentucky. They say they seized additional methamphetamine, counterfeit pills containing suspected fentanyl, marijuana, firearms, and over $325,000 in United States Currency.

Based on the evidence obtained from the long term investigation and the search warrants, additional members of the Watkins DTO, including Christopher McNary, age 31 of Owensboro, Kentucky, Richard Cason, age 29 of Owensboro, Kentucky, Keith Watkins, age 28 of Owensboro, Kentucky, and Samuel White, age 27 of Owensboro, Kentucky were also charged in a second criminal complaint with conspiring with each other and others to possess with the intent to distribute 500 grams or more of a mixture of a substance containing a detectable amount of methamphetamine and 400 grams or more of a mixture or substance containing a detectable amount of fentanyl.

Feds announce largest drug seizure in Owensboro history
Feds announce largest drug seizure in Owensboro history

All five men are charged by criminal complaint with Conspiracy to Possess with the Intent to Distribute 500 grams or more of a mixture or substance containing a detectable amount of methamphetamine and 400 grams of a mixture or substance containing a detectable amount of fentanyl.

The potential penalty for the offense charged is a prison term of 10 years to life, a fine of not more than $10,000,000, and not less than 5 years of supervised release.

This is the last full day for United States Attorney Russell Coleman, who made the drug seizure announcement in Owensboro.

He announced his resignation last week.

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