Local News

Mar 10, 2010 12:04 AM by Courtney Meznarich

Local drug trafficking operation stretches across the country

A Santa Barbara drug trafficking organization reaches across the United States, and lands three South Coast residents behind bars.

It all started back on January 5th, when Santa Barbara County resident Kenneth Koster, 46, was arrested by the Canadian County Sheriff's office in Oklahoma. Koster was transporting more than 33 pounds of marijuana, with a street value in Oklahoma of $165,000. Koster told officers that he was transporting the drugs to Seminole County, Florida. The Seminole County Sheriff's office had also been investigating a massive drug trafficking organization, where the ring leader was distributing around $90,000 worth of pot on a weekly basis.

When the Canadian County Sheriff's office alerted Santa Barbara County Sheriff's deputies, the deputies began investigating cultivators within the city of Goleta. They issued a search warrant for Koster's residence, where detectives found 130 active marijuana plants, 10 pounds of processed marijuana, packing materials and $27,000 in cash. George Foxx of Humboldt and Santa Barbara County, was in the residence and was arrested on a Santa Barbara County warrant. Susan Koster was also arrested.

A further investigation in Florida revealed that suspects in that state were brokering and selling pot obtained from medicinal marijuana growers in Santa Barbara and Humboldt counties. Foxx was their main contact. He is wanted in Florida on a $500,000 warrant.

Koster bailed out of a jail in Oklahoma and came back to California. Seminole County then issued a warrant for his arrest for $500,000 for felony smuggling of marijuana. He was arrested in the 1900 block of Old San Marcos Road, and booked into Santa Barbara County until he can be extradited to Florida.

So far, Seminole County authorities have arrested more than 30 people, seized 600 pounds of pot, a half a kilo of cocaine, 27 vehicles, and $700,000.

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