A Wayne County man who was charged as a major supplier of methamphetamine hid hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of the drug in a load of corn, according to a court document.
Authorities arrested James Ronald Muse, 69, on Wednesday on a charge of conspiracy to distribute meth. Police announced the arrest Friday.
The meth that police took from Muse had an estimated street value of about $700,000, according to a news release from Pulaski County Sheriff Greg Speck.
Police seized more than 10 pounds of the drug.
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Drug abusers can produce small amounts of meth in crude homemade labs, but drug organizations in Mexico are the source for large batches of crystal meth smuggled into Southern and Eastern Kentucky, according to the Appalachia High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area.
A witness said Muse, whom she called "Big R," received 10-pound shipments of meth from Mexico, according to an affidavit from Gregory A. Bunch, an agent with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.
Bunch said authorities began investigating Muse last year.
Muse delivered the meth that a source bought in Tompkinsville during an undercover Kentucky State Police investigation, and in January, a drug dealer arrested by police in Madisonville said Muse was one of his suppliers, according to the affidavit.
That man agreed to help police, arranging to buy a pound of meth from Muse for $22,000 while police monitored the transaction, according to Bunch's statement.
Police were watching Muse's house Wednesday when the informant went to pick up the meth, and they used aerial surveillance to track Muse as he went to a wooden outbuilding on a farm in Pulaski County, coming out minutes later carrying something, Bunch said.
Police who searched the building shortly afterward found an estimated 10 pounds of meth in a plastic case buried in a load of corn on a large wagon, Bunch said,
Minutes after Muse returned to his house and sold the informant the pound of meth, police arrested him.
Muse admitted selling meth on "numerous occasions," Bunch said.
The DEA, state police, the sheriff's offices in Pulaski and Wayne counties, the Lake Cumberland Area Drug Task Force and Operation UNITE took part in the investigation of Muse, Speck said.
Muse is being held in the Laurel County jail.