Cocaine probe’s scope widens

By Katherine Wartell

An operation into a vast cocaine ring in Riley and Geary counties has been extended into Topeka and Kansas City.

Search warrants were served at locations in both cities as part of “Operation Adabag” at the end of last week, officials said. The total number of arrested is more than 94—although officials said they did not yet have an updated number.

Geary County Sheriff Tony Wolf said authorities are in the process of making more arrests and also served additional warrants in Geary County.

The massive operation began on May 8 when authorities from Riley and Geary counties executed 54 search warrants at locations throughout Manhattan, Junction City, Grandview Plaza and Ogden. 

As a result of the searches, 16 firearms, 18 cars, an unspecified amount of crack cocaine and other illegal drugs and paraphernalia were seized. Seventeen children were placed in protective custody.

While authorities have declined to comment on whether the ringleaders have been arrested, the most notable currently in custody are Anthony Thompson, 31, and Albert Banks, 31, both of whom are confined on $600,000 bonds.

Thompson, who listed a Manhattan address in court papers, is charged with 99 counts, spread across two cases, including 68 counts of conspiracy to distribute cocaine and nine counts of distribution of cocaine.

Banks, who listed an Ogden address in court records, is charged with 43 counts, spread across two cases, including 24 counts of conspiracy to distribute cocaine and seven counts of distribution of cocaine.

All of their alleged offenses reportedly occurred in Geary County.

Both men will appear for status hearings in Geary County District Court on June 13.

Officials have said the operation is one of the largest drug busts in decades. It began about 13 months ago, and according to Junction City Police Chief Tim Brown, picked up in October 2012.

Local authorities, including the Geary County Sheriff’s Office, Geary County Attorney’s Office and the Junction City, Riley County and Grandview Plaza police departments, have been working with the Kansas Bureau of Investigation on the matter.

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