Drug ring suspects appear in court

By Katherine Wartell

Further arrests are imminent in the crack cocaine bust known as “Operation Adabag.” Officials said 94 persons have now been arrested. 

The arrests began on May 8 in a massive multiple-agency operation in Riley and Geary counties after authorities executed search warrants, spread across one day, at 54 locations throughout Junction City, Manhattan, Ogden and Grandview Plaza.

But authorities are remaining tight-lipped on details of the investigation, including whether they believe they’ve caught the leader of what officials have termed a “significant” drug ring.

Junction City Police Chief Tim Brown confirmed Wednesday that the investigation into crack cocaine distribution, which started 13 months ago and picked up in October 2012, is still active and more arrests are coming.

The most notable arrests thus far involved Anthony Thompson, 31, 2035 Fort Riley Blvd., and Albert Banks, 31, Ogden.

Ninety-nine counts were listed against Thompson in two May 7 warrants, while 43 counts were listed against Banks in two warrants.

The counts are spread across two cases for both men, who were arrested on total bonds of $600,000 — the highest of any of the arrests.

According to the warrants, the men have worked together in the past to distribute cocaine in Geary County.

Thompson is charged with 68 counts of conspiracy to distribute cocaine, nine counts of conspiracy to distribute marijuana, one count of conspiracy to distribute morphine and one count of conspiracy to manufacture cocaine base. He is also charged with nine counts of criminal use of a communication facility, that is, his cell phone, nine counts of distribution of cocaine, one count of solicitation to distribute cocaine and one count of distribution of cocaine within 1000 feet of a school zone.

The offenses are alleged to have happened between January 2012 and May 8.

Though Thompson listed a Manhattan address in court papers, all of his offenses appear to have occurred in Geary County.

According to Banks’ warrants, he is charged with 24 counts of conspiracy to distribute cocaine, seven counts of distribution of cocaine, seven counts of criminal use of a communication facility, two counts of solicitation to distribute cocaine, two counts of conspiracy to distribute hallucinogens and one count of manufacture of cocaine.

In a press conference last week, Geary County Attorney Steve Opat said “we certainly recognize” most of the people who were arrested.

Other notable arrests were Ella Haymon, 54, Junction City, Patricia Foy, 47, Junction City, and Precious Banks, 27, Manhattan. 

According to their warrants, all three women are charged with conspiracy to distribute cocaine by “feloniously and intentionally” entering into an agreement with Thompson and “others known and unknown.”

Precious Banks is also charged with conspiracy to distribute marijuana.

Both Haymon and Foy were arrested on bonds of $250,000, while Precious Banks was arrested on $200,000 bond.

Several of the defendants appeared in Geary County District Court Thursday morning for status hearings on their cases.

The investigation is a joint effort by the Kansas Bureau of Investigation, the Junction City Police Department, the Geary County Sheriff’s Office, the Riley County Police Department, the Grandview Plaza Police Department and the Geary County Attorney’s Office.

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