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Pot fugitive jailed after two years
BLOOMFIELD, Mo. -- A former Dexter man implicated in a large marijuana operation in October 2010 was arrested Tuesday.
Don Murphy, 32, escaped capture at the time of the original raid on the house south of Dexter, Mo.
Stoddard County Sheriff Carl Hefner said Murphy fled to California, where he also was almost arrested for marijuana production before going on the run again, coming back to Missouri.
Tuesday morning a tip came in to the Stoddard County Sheriff's Department that Murphy was at a residence in the Wappapello Lake area.
Deputy Keith Haynes, also a SEMO Drug Task Force agent, went to the house and Murphy ran again, the sheriff's department said, before being captured.
Stoddard County deputies raided a house just southeast of Dexter's city limits, acting on an anonymous tip, where they seized marijuana with a street value estimated between $800,000 and $900,000.
One suspect was located and arrested shortly after the raid when deputies found him at his home near the house where the growing operation was taking place. He was arrested, but charges were dropped against him in January 2011 primarily due to the fact that Murphy had not been located.
In the 2010 raid, police found three rooms of the house equipped with marijuana growing apparatus including an elaborate grow light system. A total of 218 plants were seized.
"This was a highly sophisticated growing operation," Hefner said the afternoon of the raid in 2010. "To my knowledge, this is the largest quantity of pot ever seized in a single raid in the county, indoor or outdoor."
Hefner said no one was living at the house where the operation was found.
Murphy was arrested Tuesday and charged with first-degree trafficking and felony manufacturing marijuana.
His bond was set at $125,000 cash-only. He is set to be arraigned today before Judge Joe Z. Satterfield.