Crime & Courts

After western Kansas drug bust, foreign national escapes during failed KCK sting: feds

One man escaped and another was recaptured after a drug bust in western Kansas was followed by a failed sting in Kansas City, Kansas.

Law enforcement arrested two immigrants who had heroin after a traffic stop on I-70 near Oakley last week. Narcotic investigators then tried to conduct a controlled delivery of the illegal drugs at a Mexican restaurant before the men ran away.

One of the men, identified in court documents as Orlando Alexis Gaxiola-Guevara, was recaptured. Prosecutors charged him with possessing heroin with intent to distribute. A Drug Enforcement Administration task force officer detailed what happened in an affidavit filed in federal court.

The DEA task force officer, a Missouri sheriff’s detective, wrote that Gaxiola-Guevara and Tomas Cabrera-Lopez were arrested Wednesday afternoon in Logan County. Two sheriff’s deputies pulled over a red 2008 Ford Fusion with California tags. The car had been failing to maintain a single lane of travel on eastbound I-70 near Oakley.

The men consented to a search of the vehicle, according to court documents, and the deputies found about 5 pounds of suspected black tar heroin and brown powder heroin. The illegal drugs were found in packages hidden in the quarter panels of the trunk.

The sheriff’s office then contacted the DEA and Kansas Highway Patrol. During their interviews with investigators, the men agreed to cooperate with law enforcement in attempting a controlled delivery of the drugs, the task force officer wrote.

The men, who are both from the state of Sinaloa in Mexico, told investigators that someone called “Juma” had recruited them to smuggle the drugs to Kansas City. They were supposed to stop in Colorado to pick up about $50,000 in drug money and take it back to Los Angeles. They said this was their first time, and they were being paid $5,000 each.

The task force officer wrote that the men were told to deliver the drugs to the address of a Mexican restaurant near 47th Street and Parallel Parkway in Kansas City, Kansas. A representative sample of the heroin was put back in the Ford Fusion, and investigators teamed up with the men to attempt a controlled delivery Thursday to the restaurant during lunchtime. But when they got there, the restaurant was closed.

Gaxiola-Guevara and Cabrera-Lopez were told through a text to take the drugs to a home near U.S. 71 and Meyer Boulevard in Kansas City, Missouri. But law enforcement officers directed them to go instead to a nearby Family Dollar store and await further instructions from the task force, according to court documents.

After they parked at the store, Gaxiola-Guevara was heard saying “Tomas!” and “No!” several times, the task force officer wrote. Law enforcement officers in the area then saw Cabrera-Lopez running north into a wooded area with Gaxiola-Guevara following.

The officer wrote that Gaxiola-Guevara was arrested about a block away, booked into the Wyandotte County jail and an immigration detainer was later prepared by Homeland Security. Local police brought in a dog to assist with the search, but Cabrera-Lopez was not found. The heroin that was still in the car was placed into evidence.

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