Benton truck driver charged with trafficking

Saturday, July 1, 2006

BENTON, Mo. -- A Southeast Missouri truck driver caught with nearly a pound of methamphetamine in his company's vehicle was charged with drug trafficking, police said.

James J. Buchanan, 45, of Benton, Mo., was pulled over early Thursday on U.S. 62 in Miner, Mo., according to a news release from the Scott County Sheriff's Department.

After consenting to a search of his truck, officers found 394 grams of meth in the cab, the release stated.

Scott County Sheriff Rick Walter said the street value of meth was $1,900 to $2,100 an ounce. He suspected the meth was uncut, which would triple the value.

He was charged with first-degree trafficking and was being held in lieu of a $200,000 bond.

Buchanan was coming back into the area with a legitimate haul he picked up in southern California when he was pulled over for speeding, according to Southeast Missouri Drug Task Force director Kevin Glaser.

The defendant had been under investigation by several law enforcement agencies, including the task force, sheriff's office and Missouri State Highway Patrol.

The truck Buchanan was driving, owned by Charleston, Mo.-based Hall Transport, was seized and searched before handed back to the company, Glaser said.

"They were being used," Walter said of the company.

Buchanan had been employed as a trucker by Hall Transport. He was fired following his arrest.

"We don't condone that," co-owner Tammy Taylor said. "It gives all truckers a bad name."

Buchanan's arrest represents the change of drug enforcement local officials have done since federal and state laws restricting the sales of meth-producing drugs have decreased the number of local labs, Walter said.

335-6611, extension 127

Now, dealers are transporting meth from out of the area, forcing officers to focus more on interdiction than before.

"We fully anticipated that the importation of meth would increase, and that's what's happening," Glaser said.

335-6611, extension 127

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