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Fugitive jailed after two years on the lam

Thursday, January 31, 2013

BLOOMFIELD, Mo. -- A former Dexter resident implicated in a large marijuana operation in October of 2010 is now behind bars in Stoddard County Jail.

Don Murphy, 32, escaped capture at the time of the original raid on the house south of Dexter.

Stoddard County Sheriff Carl Hefner said that Murphy fled to California where he set up another large-scale indoor marijuana growing operation.

Authorities in California discovered the operation, but Murphy once again eluded capture.

Tuesday morning a tip came in to the Stoddard County Sheriff's Department that Murphy was at a residence in the Wappapello area.

Sheriff's Deputy Keith Haynes, also a SEMO Drug Task Force agent, traveled to the residence in search of Murphy.

Upon arrival, Haynes spotted the vehicle in the driveway, but Murphy again fled. Haynes pursued the suspect in a chase until Murphy eventually dove from his vehicle.

A foot chase ensued, but ended in Haynes capturing Murphy.

With information gained from an anonymous tip in October 2010, Stoddard County deputies raided a residence on Old Sand Road just southeast of Dexter's city limits.

Sheriffs's deputies, along with the SEMO Drug Task Force, converged on the Old Sand Rd. residence and seized marijuana with a street value estimated to be between $800,000 and $900,000.

One suspect was located and arrested shortly after the raid when deputies found him at his residence located about three doors from 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.

Upon entering the residence on Old Sand Road 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," Sheriff Carl 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."

The pot plants weighed in at 240 pounds, according to Hefner, who confirmed no one was living at the residence where the operation was found. It is believed both Murphy and the other suspect resided in the home nearby.

Hefner confirmed that the pair had been operating the indoor pot growing operation since April 2010.

Murphy was arrested Tuesday and charged with the Class A felony of trafficking in the first degree and the Class B felony of manufacture of marijuana.

His bond was set at $125,000 cash-only. He will be arraigned on Thursday, Jan. 31, 2012, before Judge Joe Z. Satterfield.

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