PHELPS COUNTY, Mo. - Nearly 50 suspected manufacturers and sellers of drugs are behind bars in Phelps County. They were rounded up early Tuesday morning, and 5 on Your Side's Mike Rush found out how the arrests could have an effect in St. Louis.
This operation results in some cases from investigations that have lasted more than two-and-a-half years, people accused of selling to undercover officers.
As authorities escorted two suspects to the Phelps County Jail, Mike Rush asked, "You guys are facing some serious drug charges, what do you have to say?"
"God is good," said Michael Trumbo.
But Trumbo's day was probably not so good. An early morning visit from authorities put Trumbo in handcuffs. He is charged with selling meth to an undercover officer at least four times.
Most of the 47 people state troopers, Phelps County deputies, Rolla police and others targeted for pickup are big catches helping to drive the illegal drug trade in Phelps County.
"It's the manufacturers, dealers," said Lt. Bruce Fiske with Missouri State Highway Patrol.
People were picked up for meth, heroin and pills with a few extras along the way. Investigators found pot plants in the home of a couple of suspects.
"As you can sell it, it smells," said Phelps County Sheriff Richard Lisenbe. "That's why they call it skunk weed, it smells like a skunk."
Left to mature, the stash could have been worth up to $10,000.
"But again, you know, it sells. That's just money," said the sheriff.
Dirty money with ties to the metro. Authorities say some of the drugs come from St. Louis.
"With I-44 being a corridor, it's a routine connection between St. Louis and here," said Fiske. "Anytime you cut off a supply in one place obviously it decreases that ability for that supply to go back and forth for a period of time."
Investigators say these warrant roundups are effective because usually once one person is arrested, word spreads fast so it's better to try to round them up all around the same time.