In one of the biggest drug busts ever in Pike County history, a senior citizen and businessman was arrested and charged with possession of 114 pounds of marijuana. According to the court records, 74-year-old William McMurtrey was arrested and a cash-only bond was set for $50,000 as a result of the charges.
Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) investigators in St. Louis had received tips that McMurtrey was traveling to Tucson, Arizona to purchase 150 to 200 pounds of marijuana on a regular basis. This information was revealed in a probable cause statement released by the DEA after the arrest.
After learning of the alleged illegal activity, DEA agents set up round-the-clock surveillance at McMurtey’s home. During the surveillance, they witnessed him leaving his home on the 16th of September and then returning on the 23rd. The next day, during continued surveillance, DEA agents saw a man arrive into McMurtey’s garage in a pickup truck and remained at the residence for approximately 90 minutes. Once the truck departed, DEA agents pulled over the driver and found 52 pounds of marijuana inside the vehicle.
Once the driver was arrested, DEA agents raided McMurtey’s home next to the Mississippi River. He admitted to the agents he had a large amount of marijuana in his home, along with over $33,000 in cash.
According to the sheriff of Pike County, Stephen Korte, this was the largest drug arrest he has seen during his time in office. McMurtrey’s arrest did not occur until February 19th since the officials in Pike County were waiting to see if he would be prosecuted federally.
DEA agents played a crucial role in the surveillance and ultimate apprehension of McMurtrey. They were responsible for this “bust” of an individual who most would never suspect of this type of illegal behavior.