By Talia Kaplan
ST. LOUIS(KSDK) - There have been two murders in a little more than two weeks. Both involved drug deals and both happened in neighborhoods you may not expect: in Kirkwood and one near O'Fallon, Missouri.
Officials say it's hard to say if this is happening more often because typically drug transactions aren't reported but, authorities are aware that it's a prevalent problem with deadly consequences and they're taking action.
Nick Lunceford and Keenan Miller are charged with second degree murder and the attempted sale of marijuana.
Police say on June 17, Lunceford shot and killed 18-year-old Brandon Richards during a drug deal on Pleasant Court in Kirkwood.
On Wednesday it was a similar situation near O'Fallon, Missouri. Prosecutors say Kevin Labriado and Robert Bathe went to 17 year old Tyler Pinner's home to get marijuana from the teen. Prosecutors say the two didn't want to pay so they sped off in their car, dragging Pinner then running him over. Now the 19 year old suspects are charged with second degree murder.
Sgt. Mark Whitson with the St. Louis County Bureau of Drug Enforcement says the drug task force is mainly geared to dismantle or disrupt drug trafficking organizations.
"We have a street crew unit that goes out with under covers and attempts to buy from street corners to attack those lower level organizations and then try to work up from there," said Sgt. Whitson.
The St Charles County Sheriff's Department also has an undercover drug task force.
Anyone who witnesses a drug deal in progress should call 9-1-1. If you notice any suspicious activity related to drugs call the Drug Task Force Hotline at 800-559-DOPE for St. Charles County,314-863-DOPE for St. Louis County, and 314-241-2677 for the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department. You can also email them at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can request to be anonymous.