Willow Springs Police Chief Bryan Hogan and officers with the department have had success in securing 24 felony counts against suspected drug dealers in Howell County this month, reportedly seizing weapons, cash and an assortment of controlled substances.
The drugs officers report confiscating include heroin, marijuana and marijuana products, psilocybin mushrooms, methamphetamine, MDMA aka ecstasy and prescription drugs including Xanax, fentanyl, hydromorphone and Gabapentin.
Hogan credited “outstanding” work by Cpl. Brian Jackson and Officer Paden Turnbull in the investigation.
Those arrested and charged including Dakota J. Sloan, 22, Johnson Street in West Plains, and Zachary L. Gulnac, 31, Mtn. View. Drug-related charges are also pending against three other men from Mtn. View, Willow Springs and Caulfield, law enforcement officials added.
In all of the cases, drug transactions were set up via social media, with officers posing as someone interested in purchasing controlled substances, Willow Springs Police Department officials said.
SLOAN AND GULNAC
Sloan reportedly engaged with the social media account and communicated that he had a variety of drugs and would bring them to an arranged meeting on May 14.
Police officials said that interaction led to the seizure of six bags of marijuana, 19 of gummies containing marijuana's psychoactive component THC, two of MDMA, three of psilocybin mushrooms, one each of suspected methamphetamine and heroin, a tin container of suspected fentanyl, 23 Gabapentin pills, six Xanax bars, a bag of Adderall pills and two Viagra pills.
Officers also reportedly confiscated a silencer, a pair of brass knuckles, a shotgun, a rifle, two handguns, three loaded Glock magazines, two loaded rifle magazines and other assorted ammunition.
Sloan is charged with 10 counts of delivery of a controlled substance and six counts of unlawful use of a weapon by having possession of a weapon and controlled substances.
The next day Gulnac, from whom Sloan had allegedly bought the controlled substances for $1,800, was served a search warrant at his home by law enforcement with the Willow Springs Police Department, the Missouri State Highway Patrol, the Howell County Sheriff’s Department and the South Central Drug Task Force.
He reportedly had a vacuum sealer, digital scale and other items typically used for preparing and packaging marijuana for sale, an inventory sheet and notebook listing names and dollar amounts, three bags of marijuana, six bags of THC gummy bears, a bag of psilocybin mushrooms, a loaded 9 mm handgun, a double-barreled shotgun, a sawed-off shotgun, a pump action shotgun and $3,220 in cash.
Gulnac has been charged with four counts of delivery of a controlled substance, one count of possession of an illegal weapon and three counts of unlawful use of a weapon by having possession of a weapon and controlled substances.
Other charges are pending related to the sting operation.
On May 1 an unidentified 78-year-old man from Mtn. View made contact with the social media account and arranged a meeting, offering to bring marijuana brownies, police reported.
After the meeting took place and the suspect brought the items agreed upon, he allowed Willow Springs and Mtn. View officers to search his home, where they reportedly also found more marijuana brownies and other marijuana products, including butter, oil and plants, plus morphine pills.
On May 6, the same social media profile was contacted by a 54-year-old Caulfield man who allegedly offered pain medication and cash for “sexual contact.”
When officers met the subject at the agreed upon meeting spot, he was reportedly found to be in possession of 33 hydromorphone pills.
On May 22, a 31-year-old Willow Springs man allegedly made an arrangement to sell methamphetamine, and when officers met him at his home, they reportedly found two bags of what is believed be meth.