TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – A Topeka pizza shop owner and nine other people have been indicted on federal drug trafficking charges.
U.S. Attorney Tom Beall said a 35-count indictment unsealed Thursday alleges Adolfo Barragan-Rodriguez, owner of Pronto Pizza, located at 1121 SE 6th Ave. in Topeka, set up a trafficking organization that obtained methamphetamine from California and distributed it to buyers through a network of street dealers in Topeka.
The indictment, SEE HERE, alleges Barragan-Rodriguez used his restaurant as a front for drug trafficking.
Barragan-Rodriguez, who was known by the conspirators as Big Mike, managed the logistics of buying pounds of methamphetamine in California and shipping the drugs to Topeka, leaving other conspirators to handle street sales to users.
Conspirators laundered drug proceeds through transactions at a local casino north of Topeka. Some drugs were stored at a location within 1,000 feet of Mater Dei Catholic School.
Charges in the indictment include conspiracy, possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine, interstate transportation in furtherance of drug trafficking, use of a telephone in furtherance of drug trafficking, possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine within 1,000 of a school, money laundering and unlawful possession of firearms.
In addition to Barragan-Rodriguez, defendants named in the indictment include:
Michelle Belair, 34, Topeka.
Jose Medina-Benuto, 20, Topeka.
Michael Price, 42, Topeka.
Joseph Jones, 41, Topeka.
Linda Hardin, 48, Topeka.
Heather Hurley, 29, Topeka.
Daniel A. Rice, 57, Topeka.
Nicholas Casarona, 41, Topeka.
Jose Ruiz, 37, Topeka.
The investigation was led by the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Topeka Police Department with assistance from the Shawnee County Sherriff’s Office, the Kansas Highway Patrol, the ATF, the FBI, and the Department of Homeland Security. Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Skip Jacobs is prosecuting.