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Huge drug bust nets cocaine, meth, pills, guns and cash

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Just before 8 p.m. Tuesday, Pettis County Sheriff’s Office deputies, the Mid-Missouri Drug Task Force and the Morgan County SWAT team executed a search warrant on 1821 S. Barrett Ave. in the heart of Sedalia. Officers arrested James Johnson and Whitney Raymond and seized a mammoth amount of drugs, an arsenal of weapons and $61,000 in cash.

This had been an ongoing investigation between law enforcement and Pettis County Prosecuting Attorney Philip Sawyer.

“There’s a problem here,” said Pettis County Sheriff Brad Anders. “We’re just trying to address it.”

The bust netted one kilogram of powdered cocaine, one-half pound of meth, 701 ecstasy tablets, 35 pounds of marijuana, 154 boxes of THC vape cartridges, THC wax, 15 high caliber rifles, 13 handguns, one stolen gun and $61,000 in U.S. currency.

“A kilo of cocaine, it’s not often that you see that,” said Anders. “At least not in my experience.”

The large amount of contraband indicates an ongoing drug distribution operation that Anders said is still under investigation. 

“I know the D.E.A. (Drug Enforcement Agency) is likely to indict him (Johnson) for the drug charges,” Anders said.

Raymond only has been charged with outstanding traffic warrants, while Johnson will face the brunt of the remaining drug charges including first-degree trafficking.

“I’m happy about it,” Anders said. “Anytime you get that amount of dangerous narcotics, specifically the stimulants, that’s a good day. Both of those drugs (cocaine and meth) are highly addictive, they’re very damaging. I don’t like that being in the community and I don’t think the community likes it being there either. I was elected to do a job and I’m just trying to do that to the best of my ability.”

Although Anders was on scene, he was quick to point out it was a team effort.

“This is by no means a Brad Anders thing,” said Anders. “This is a team effort.”

Anders is the Director of the Mid-Missouri Drug Task Force, made up of deputies from eight surrounding counties. 

“They’re on my payroll,” Anders said. “It’s a great, great, task force. I couldn’t be happier.”

Knowing Johnson was highly-armed went into the planning for the raid. 

“We do a threat assessment for every warrant that makes sure whether or not it rises to the level of needing a tactical team to make the entry,” said Anders. “We’re looking at whether or not they have cameras, whether they have dogs, whether they have guns, if it’s a felony, things like that that get us to the level of, yes, this is a full-team operation.”

Still, Anders admits being surprised by how well-armed Johnson was with 29 firearms. 

“We’re always thankful for an outcome like this where no one was hurt, everybody remained safe including the suspect,” he said. “That's the ideal outcome.”

Anders had high praise for the Morgan County SWAT team for securing the residence and thanked Morgan County Sheriff Norman Dills for loaning his most professional team to a neighboring county.

Anders indicated Johnson had made threats to law enforcement in the past.

“He had made some threats on Facebook about a year ago about killing law enforcement,” Anders added.

It’s worth noting Hannah Fizer was killed by a sheriff’s office deputy one year ago Sunday, June 13, and Johnson was Hannah Fizer’s boyfriend at the time of the shooting.

While interviewing Anders, another death threat was sent to the sheriff’s office via Facebook from an individual who stated he wasn't afraid to die and was planning on killing as many officers as possible.

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