An I-135/I-70 Drug Task Force investigation dating back to 2011 – leads to 5 federal indictments for a drug ring with ties to Salina.
Task Force Commander Lt. Jim Norton tells KSAL News that agents and the U.S. Postal Inspectors Office joined forces for an arrest in January of 2011.
Information gleaned from interviews then pointed police to focus on a suspected marijuana supplier who had moved from Salina to Conifer, Colorado.
DEA and Jefferson County Deputies in Colorado arrested Geary Michael Vaughan in rural Conifer on August 30th.
Lt Norton says the operation seized 162 live marijuana plants – and records that indicate Vaughan is responsible for laundering over $122,000 in suspected drug proceeds.
“It was money from sales of marijuana between Salina and Newton primarily,” he said.
“It was put in a bank account of Mr. Vaughan’s, who would then purchase things on his end and we believe also to purchase more marijuana, that would later be shipped into our area and sold.”
During the 2-year-plus long investigation, the Drug Task Force used multiple warrants to seize drugs, documents and U.S. currency from residences in Salina on Crescent Avenue and Cherokee Avenue and with the assistance of the Trinity County Sheriff’s Office, seized marijuana plants and U.S. currency from a home in Hayfork, California.
Alyssa L. Nickelson (Mosburg), Casey Ryan Nickelson, Luis R. Beltran and Nickolas Wayne Berthelson are all facing federal indictments in connection to the case.
The investigation has led police to seize a total of 361 marijuana plants, 2,290 grams of processed pot, 76 prescription pills, two vehicles and $62,000 in drug proceeds.
Lt. Norton tells KSAL News that further indictments are still possible.