Monday, September 30, 2013
A multi-state drug ring has been busted by local and federal authorities after an investigation that began in 2011.
In January of 2011, the I-135/I-70 Drug Task Force along with U.S. Postal Inspectors intercepted over 3 pounds of marijuana, 9 grams of cocaine and $6,500 in cash and arrested a suspect. That arrest lead authorities to a suspected marijuana supplier/broker, Geary Michael Vaughan.
In July of 2012, authorities seized another package containing $24,000, addressed to a residence in Hayfork, California. It's believed the money was intended to purchase eight pounds of high grade marijuana.
This lead investigators to numerous suspects believed to be responsible for importing marijuana into Salina and central Kansas, from the states of California and Colorado. A search of the California address by authorities there, found 199 live marijuana plants, marijuana growing equipment, $20,000 in cash and a handgun. One person there was arrested.
In September of 2012, members of the I-135/I-70 Drug Task Force, along with DEA Agents, executed a search warrant at 1330 Crescent Avenue in Salina. During the search they found 19 grams of marijuana, $3,854 cash, 26 prescription pills, and various documents and cell phones, which aided in the continuation of this investigation.
In January of this year, the I-135/I-70 Drug Task Force conducted undercover marijuana buys from a Salina residence. On February 1, 2013, a search warrant was executed at 638 S. 11th Street in Salina. Seized during this search were 369 grams of marijuana, $3,876 in cash, documents and cell phones. One person was arrested during this investigation. Information from this investigation aided in the continuation of the investigation of Geary Michael Vaughan and other known individuals.
On February 6, the I-135/I-70 Drug Task Force executed a search warrant at 835 Cherokee Avenue in Salina. During the search, law enforcement seized 371 grams of marijuana, 86 grams of psilocybin mushrooms, 50 perscription pills and $3,990 in cash. Documents tying this investigation, to the conspiracy investigation of Geary M. Vaughan and other known individuals, were also located.
On August 15, 2013, federal indictments were handed down by a Grand Jury in Wichita.
Geary Michael Vaughan, was charged with one count of Conspiracy to Distribute a Controlled Substance and one count of Conspiracy to commit Money Laundering.
Casey Ryan Nickelson, was charged with one count of Conspiracy to Distribute a Controlled Substance, one count of Conspiracy to commit Money Laundering and one count of Interstate and Foreign Travel or Transportation in aid of Racketeering Enterprises.
Alyssa L. Nickelson, was charged with one count of Conspiracy to Distribute a Controlled Substance and one count of Interstate and Foreign Travel or Transportation in aid of Racketeering Enterprises.
Nickolas Wayne Berthelson and Luis R. Beltran were both charged with one count of Conspiracy to commit Money Laundering.
On Friday, August 30, Agents with the DEA, U.S. Marshal’s Service, Metro West Drug Task Force, with assistance from the Jefferson County, Colorado District Attorney’s Office, arrested Geary Michael Vaughan and executed a search warrant at 11263 Conifer Mountain Road in rural Conifer, Colorado.
During the search of Vaughan’s home and vehicle, agents found a marijuana growing operation consisting of 162 live marijuana plants, growing equipment, packaged marijuana and two handguns.
Records found during the investigation indicate that Vaughan obtained more than $122,000, which has been deposited into his bank account by co-conspirators involved in the conspiracy.
It is believed that Vaughan is responsible for more than 100 pounds of marijuana being shipped into Salina, Newton and Wichita, Kansas.
This investigation has led law enforcement to seize a total of 361 marijuana plants, 2,290 grams of processed marijuana, 76 prescription pills, two vehicles and $62,220 in drug proceeds.
The case was investigated by Salina Police, The Saline County Sheriff’s Department, I-135/I-70 Drug Task Force, Saline County Attorney’s Office, United States Attorney’s Office, Drug Enforcement Administration, U. S. Postal Inspectors Office, U.S. Marshal’s Service, Metro West Drug Task Force in Colorado, and the Jefferson County, Colorado District Attorney’s Office.