Two men face federal drug trafficking charges after a drug bust on an Oklahoma interstate uncovered more than 125 pounds of methamphetamine worth more than $1 million that was headed to South Bend.
Charges of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute a controlled substance were filed in the U.S. District Court of Northern Indiana last week against John Bradshaw, 63, of Buchanan, and Bradley Burns, 31, of South Bend. Burns is also charged with possession of a firearm by a felon. The charges were the result of an investigation involving two federal agencies, the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and the South Bend Police Department.
The investigation started when the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics stopped a car traveling east on Interstate 40 in Canadian County, Okla. — which is west of Oklahoma City — for the improper use of a turn signal. When officers searched the vehicle, they found 128 pounds of crystal meth in the trunk, according to Mark Woodward, a spokesman for the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics. The estimated value of the drugs is $1.2 million. There was also about 1 kilogram of heroin in the trunk of the car, according to court documents.
The driver of the vehicle, Bradshaw, told officers that he had picked up the drugs in San Diego and was being paid to deliver them to a house in the 700 block of South Kentucky Street in South Bend at the direction of Burns. Bradshaw also told officers he has known Burns since Burns was a child and had made two previous deliveries to the South Kentucky Street address.
Officers replaced the drugs with “a sham substance” and arranged for Bradshaw to deliver it to Burns, according to court documents. When Bradshaw arrived at the South Kentucky Street residence, Burns’ sister came outside to meet him. Bradshaw opened the trunk of his car, signaling for waiting officers to “initiate a take down.” Burns ran out the back door of the house and jumped over a fence before being apprehended by police.
Investigators found a handgun, two rifles and a money counter in Burns’ bedroom, according to court documents. Bradshaw told investigators that Burns had asked him to complete an additional delivery in West Virginia. Bradshaw also believed that Burns has at least one other residence in South Bend.
When questioned by investigators, Burns’ sister ultimately admitted that her brother was a drug dealer, but denied being involved in any deals.
In May 2019, United States Postal Service investigators were alerted to a package mailed from the South Kentucky Street address to a residence near San Diego. Authorities searched the package and found over $17,000 in currency and money orders, according to a probable cause affidavit.
Court documents also show that South Bend police received a Crime Stoppers tip in July 2019 that claimed Burns was breeding pit bulls and dealing methamphetamine from the South Kentucky Street house.
According to a probable cause affidavit, Burns has a prior conviction from a drug charge in Michigan.
Woodward said I-40 and Interstate 35 in Oklahoma are popular highways for drug traffickers, as they allow drugs coming into the U.S. from Phoenix, San Diego and El Paso, Texas, to make their way across the country.