Authorities bust Utah-Arizona border drug trafficking organization

Stock image | St. George News

ST. GEORGE — A search warrant executed Monday in an area of the Arizona Strip on the Utah-Arizona border resulted in five felony arrests and the seizure of multiple firearms. Authorities said the suspects have been supplying heroin and methamphetamine to residents along the rural areas in both states.

A screenshot of a map showing an area of North Stagger Mountain Road on the Arizona Strip where a search warrant was executed resulting in the arrest of five suspects who officials said have been supplying heroin and methamphetamine to residents along the rural areas on the Utah-Arizona border | Image courtesy of Google maps, St. George News
A screenshot of a map showing an area of North Stagger Mountain Road on the Arizona Strip where a search warrant was executed resulting in the arrest of five suspects who officials said have been supplying heroin and methamphetamine to residents along the rural areas on the Utah-Arizona border | Image courtesy of Google maps, St. George News

Tuesday’s arrests came on the heels of a three month investigation by the Mohave Area General Narcotics Enforcement Team into a drug trafficking organization living in an area of the Arizona Strip on the 700 block of North Stagger Mountain Road.

Investigators determined that the residents of the property were the main source of heroin and methamphetamine impacting the quality of life for citizens in Fredonia, Arizona, and Kanab, Utah, Kingman Police said in a statement.

The investigation – dubbed “Operation County Line” – resulted in purchases of methamphetamine from suspects at the property over the three month period, officials said in the statement. However, history of drug related arrests stemming from the Stagger Mountain property went back two years.

The property – described by authorities as approximately 1 acre in size with five livable residences and approximately 75 vehicles – is located a few hundred feet into Mohave County from the Coconino County border on the Arizona Strip.

A screenshot of a map showing a property on North Stagger Mountain Road on the Arizona Strip where a search warrant was executed resulting in the arrest of five suspects who officials said have been supplying heroin and methamphetamine to residents along the rural areas on the Utah-Arizona border | Image courtesy of Google maps, St. George News
A screenshot of a map showing a property on North Stagger Mountain Road on the Arizona Strip where a search warrant was executed resulting in the arrest of five suspects who officials said have been supplying heroin and methamphetamine to residents along the rural areas on the Utah-Arizona border | Image courtesy of Google maps, St. George News

The Mohave County Sheriff’s Office Tactical Operations Unit and the Arizona Department of Public Safety SWAT Team executed the search warrant at the property during the early morning hours Tuesday.

During a search of the property, four guns and several items of contraband were seized.

The following suspects were arrested Tuesday at the time the search warrant was executed:

Richard Glenn Jessop, 64, of an unincorporated area of Mohave County, was charged with two felonies for conspiracy to commit narcotic drugs for sale and conspiracy to commit dangerous drugs for sale.

Richard G. Jessop, of an unincorporated area of Mohave County, Arizona, booking photo posted Nov. 21, 2016 | Photo courtesy of Kingman Police Department, St. George News
Richard G. Jessop, of an unincorporated area of Mohave County, Arizona, booking photo posted Nov. 21, 2016 | Photo courtesy of Kingman Police Department, St. George News

Melinda Lark Atwood-Evenson, 47, of an unincorporated area of Mohave County, was charged with possession for sale of dangerous drugs, trafficking in dangerous drugs for sale, and conspiracy to commit sale of narcotic drugs.

Theodore Lawrence Jessop, 30, of an unincorporated area of Mohave County, was charged with conspiracy to commit dangerous drugs for sale, conspiracy to commit narcotic drugs for sale, and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Joshua Glenn Jessop, 28, of an unincorporated area of Mohave County, was charged with possession of weapon by prohibited possessor, conspiracy to commit narcotic drugs for sale, and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Ephraim Ernest Black, 28, of an unincorporated area of Mohave County, was charged with possession of drug paraphernalia.

Katie D. Millet, of an unincorporated area of Mohave County, Arizona, booking photo posted Nov. 21, 2016 | Photo courtesy of Kingman Police Department, St. George News
Katie D. Millet, of an unincorporated area of Mohave County, Arizona, booking photo posted Nov. 21, 2016 | Photo courtesy of Kingman Police Department, St. George News

Prior to the search warrant, two other suspects were arrested Nov. 4 in relation to the operation.

Katie Dawn Millett, 27, and Danny Allen Markland, 49, both of an unincorporated area of Mohave County, were arrested on drug-related charges, including possession of narcotic drugs for sale, possession of narcotic drugs, possession of drug paraphernalia, and conspiracy to commit dangerous drugs for sale.

The Mohave Area General Narcotics Enforcement Team; the High Intensity Drug Task Areas program, a federal initiative; and an Arizona Criminal Justice Commission supported task force thanked the Washington County and Kane County sheriff’s offices for assistance in the investigation.

Persons arrested or charged are presumed innocent until found guilty in a court of law or as otherwise decided by a trier-of-fact.

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Email: kscott@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2016, all rights reserved.

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3 Comments

  • .... November 23, 2016 at 11:33 pm

    This is absolutely fantastic news and I’m sure this will result in a positive reaction from the community and all those involved. Great article ! unfortunately the war on drugs has been lost this won’t stop anything. It will be business as usual just be somebody else doing it

  • sagemoon November 25, 2016 at 9:41 am

    Dang tweekers and junkies.

  • Tina November 30, 2016 at 8:15 am

    “Investigators determined that the residents of the property were the main source of heroin and methamphetamine impacting the quality of life for citizens in Fredonia, Arizona, and Kanab, Utah”……..WHAT???? I live in Fredonia. As far as I can tell, these people in this drug ring are small potatoes compared to the little motel on the corner, right in the middle of town, that EVERYYYYBODY knows has Mexican heroin sold out the back door. Just sayin’.

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