Feds say 'large-scale' meth dealer gambled millions at Downstream Casino
Prosecutors say the man at the center of a large-scale Springfield meth distribution ring was a high roller at a nearby casino.
Patrick Brigaudin, 54, is one of four men charged last week with conspiracy to distribute large amounts of drugs after authorities allegedly found 12 pounds of meth and 6 and a half pounds of heroin in his garage.
In court filings asking that Brigaudin be held without bond, federal prosecutors say Brigaudin is a flight risk because between January 2009 and April 2015 he put more than $10 million into slot machines at Downstream Casino in Quapaw, Oklahoma.
Court documents say he withdrew about $8.4 million from the slot machines.
Court documents say Brigaudin's arrest Feb. 29 was the culmination of a two and a half year investigation that resulted in authorities seizing more than 50 pounds of meth. Documents say the investigation found that Brigaudin was a "large-scale methamphetamine distributor" in southwest Missouri.
A criminal complaint used to charge Brigaudin and three other men with conspiracy to distribute meth and heroin says that on Feb. 29, authorities set up surveillance outside Brigaudin's house at 1720 E. McDaniel St.
A Dodge pickup truck pulled into the open garage at Brigaudin's house at about noon, and authorities quickly raided the property with a search warrant they had secured a few days earlier, according to the complaint.
Agents from the Drug Enforcement Administration, Springfield Police Department, Homeland Security and the IRS entered the garage and found 12 pounds of meth and 6 and a half pounds of heroin in a secret compartment under the bed of the truck, according to the complaint.
Three other men who were allegedly at the scene that day with Brigaudin — Timothy Hall, 54, Adrian Ortiz-Corrales, 41, and Eduardo Diaz, 51 — have also been charged with conspiracy to distribut
Court documents say Ortiz-Corrales traveled to Springfield at least three times since the start of the year for "drug-related business" with Brigaudin.
Ortiz-Corrales and Brigaudin allegedly went to Springfield banks and deposited large sums of cash in quantities just beneath what would trigger mandatory reporting requirements from the banks.
Diaz, court documents say, crossed the US-Mexico border at border control checkpoints at least nine times in the previous 10 months.
Narcotics investigators have told the News-Leader several times over the last few years that the bulk of the meth in Springfield is transported here from Mexico and southwestern parts of the United States.
Court documents made public so far don't describe how the defendants in this case acquired the meth and heroin that was seized last week.
The complaint does, however, link the defendants to a 15-pound meth seizure in north Texas in March 2015. The meth in that case was reportedly from Mexico.
If convicted, all four defendants in this case face a minimum of 10 years in prison and a maximum sentence of life in prison, according to court documents.