Corn and soybeans aren't the only crops growing in America's heartland. Methamphetamine was harvested in parts of rural Porter and Jasper counties in northwest Indiana. And dozens of people have been arrested for making the illegal drug.
"Meth is rapidly becoming one of our biggest national drug problems," said David Capp, U.S. State's Attorney.
In all, 39 people have been indicted for stealing materials to make meth as well as producing and distributing meth in a drug ring that included St. Louis and Denver. Of these suspects, most are in custody, except for five, who are still on the loose. One more has reportedly agreed to surrender. Investigators say the drug ring generated hundreds of thousands of dollars since early 2004.
"We're hopeful that actions taken will put a crimp in what we believe to be some organized production and distribution of meth," said Brian Gensel, Porter County prosecutor.
The drug bust comes after a nearly year-and-a-half investigation involving a team of state and federal law enforcers, who built their case on evidence gathered by what they call good old fashioned police work
"This investigation has been going on for more than a year, and unfortunately, it takes that amount of time and resources to culminate in this number of arrests," said Sheriff David Lain, Porter County.
The suspects will appear in federal court Thursday afternoon in Hammond. Prosecutors will seek to keep them detained before their trial.