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Major drug ring busted

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BY Carolyn Muyskens - cmuyskens@chronicle-tribune.com

A cocaine ring responsible for distributing the drug out of Mexico with a final destination of Marion has been broken, according to police.

Five have been arrested and five kilograms of cocaine seized in a major drug bust, according to Det. Sgt. Josh Zigler, director of the Joint Effort Against Narcotics (JEAN) Team.

Zigler said the arrests were in connection with a “lengthy investigation” which began in late 2018 into a supply line that has been bringing cocaine into Grant County.

The raids were carried out at 2207 S. 300 W. and 1525 W. 12th St., Marion on Sunday, Jan. 6 at about 7:30 p.m.

So far Roberto Montemayor Jr., 35, of Marion, Courtney Daggett, 31, of Marion, Michael Maxey, 62, of Harlingen, Texas, Keith Maxey, 37, of Bowie, Texas, and Mario Guerra Jr., 41, of Brownsville, Texas have been arrested.

Zigler indicated there are more arrests and charges to come.

“Basically, the Texas individuals were responsible for getting the cocaine and the money to and from Marion, and Montemayor was involved in the distribution locally,” Zigler said.

Guerra Jr. is being held out-of-state on a $10 million bond while awaiting extradition to Grant County.

Michael Maxey, Keith Maxey and Montemayor are being held in the Grant County Jail on $1 million bonds. Daggett, who was charged with maintaining a common nusiance, bonded out of the Grant County Jail on Monday. 

Cocaine in the supply line was originating in Mexico, Zigler said, and being transported from Texas to Grant County.

Michael and Keith Maxey and Montemayor Jr. face charges of money laundering and corrupt business influence, among others.

“The way money is normally laundered is it's run through a business that appears to be a legitimate business, and then the money is taken out on the other side,” Zigler said.

Zigler couldn't reveal what kind of business investigators suspect was used for the alleged laundering. 

Montemayor Jr. is also charged with three counts of dealing in cocaine, a Level 2 Felony, and one count of maintaining a common nuisance, a Level 6 felony.

Montemayor Jr. was also arrested in a 2010 drug raid in which federal agents intercepted 417 pounds of marijuana.

At the time, Det. Sgt. Mark Stefanatos of the Marion Police Department said the JEAN Team had been investigating Montemayor Jr. on and off for eight years. Investigators told the Chronicle-Tribune the drug trade was "a family tradition" for the Montemayors.

Montemayor Jr.'s parents, Roberto Montemayor Sr. and Victoria Montemayor were also arrested during the same investigation in 2010.

Zigler noted Victoria Montemayor is the property owner at 1525 W. 12th St. John Gotschall owns the property at 2207 S. 300 W.

The five kilograms of cocaine seized are estimated to be valued at $180,000, Zigler said, although the detective said the street value of the narcotics would likely be even higher than that figure.

“As far as I'm aware, that's the most cocaine that's ever been seized in Grant County,” Zigler said.

U.S. currency and firearms were also seized in the raids.

“I think it's significant for Marion, for Grant County,” said Marion Police Department Deputy Chief Stephen Dorsey of the arrests.

“This might slow down some of the drug activity in the county,” Dorsey said.

Zigler said the arrests are significant for the JEAN Team.

“It eliminates sombeody that was bringing in large amounts of cocaine to Grant County. By taking out the supply line too, it makes it harder for them to re-establish that supply line,” Zigler said.

Zigler wants the arrests to send a message.

“I hope it gets out that we're not going to tolerate this in Grant County,” Zigler said.

Federal Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) agents provided intelligence and surveillance during the investigation and assisted with manpower during the raids.

The JEAN Team was also aided by the Indiana State Police Drug Enforcement Section detectives, Marion police, and the Grant County Sheriff's Department.