JACKSON COUNTY, Mo. — Dozens of people are indicted in connection with a drug distribution scheme valued at nearly $5 million.

The investigation took two years and involved 140-officers and agents from 14 different states and agencies. They seized more than 735 pounds of methamphetamine, 48 pounds of heroin and nearly 23 pounds of fentanyl in the Kansas City area.

Jackson County’s COMBAT, or Community Backed Anti-Crime Tax, funds one of the local drug task forces involved in the bust.

The agency said the suspects worked to distribute a “horrifying amount” of fentanyl and other drugs in the Kansas City area.

“You add it all up and this investigation prevented a great deal of poison from being distributed in our community,” Vince Ortega, COMBAT Director, said. “You have not only this tremendous amount of drugs being seized, but also the drugs these individuals would have continued to traffic in Kansas City and Jackson County in the future, if they had not been stopped.”

The Department of Justice said 20 Mexican nationals are among the 39 defendants indicted in the case.

In addition, the following people living in the Kansas City metro were also indicted and charged. Each faces conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine and heroin from Feb. 28, 2020, to June 1, 2022:

  • Flor Gonzalez-Celestine, 52, a citizen of Mexico living in Kansas City, Mo.
  • Jose Bernabe Zamora-Cardenas, also known as “Mufa,” 52, a citizen of Mexico living in Kansas City, Kan.
  • Tina Marie Cruces, 36, of Kansas City, Mo.
  • Lisbet Espino, 24, of Kansas City, Mo.
  • Frank Anthony Valdivia, 43, of Kansas City, Mo.
  • Melissa A. Bates, 55, of Kansas City, Mo.
  • Monica L. McCubbin, 39, of Kansas City, Mo.
  • Santiago Raul Mendieta-Sanchez, 41, a citizen of Honduras living in Kansas City, Mo.
  • Jennifer S. Lawson, 35, of Buckner, Mo.

Some of the defendants also face additional charges.