What would soon become a massive investigation began with a burglary on January 2, 2011, at the Omni Care Pharmacy Distribution Center in South Kansas City. Thieves had taken 43,000 pills of narcotic pain killers and Xanax.
Detectives Steven Morgan and Paul Thilges of the South Patrol Property Crimes Section took the case. They reached out to other area police agencies to see if their cities had experienced similar burglaries. They learned the same types of crime had been going on since May 2010 in Overland Park, KCK, Lenexa, Lee’s Summit and Independence. Detectives Morgan and Thilges called a meeting with investigators from all these jurisdictions in which they all shared and combined evidence. The detectives held multiple meetings and built the case under the leadership of Detectives Morgan and Thilges.
With the help of other members of South Patrol Property Crimes, the Career Criminal Squad, the FBI, ATF, U.S. Marshals and Independence Police Department Career Criminal Squad, many hours of surveillance were conducted, leads were pursued, search warrants were served and interviews were conducted. All this work resulted in two men being charged in a 10-count federal indictment for a $1.4 million drug-trafficking conspiracy that included nearly 100,000 pills and the illegal possession of many firearms. The FBI has informed KCPD the investigation has expanded into three other states, and they will be pursuing more indictments in the future.
In addition to the award for Morgan and Thilges, Chief Corwin presented the Special Unit Citation to the members of the South Patrol Property Crimes Section – which includes Sergeant Rodney Gentry, Detectives Steven Morgan, Paul Thilges, Wayne Jones, Dave Elliott, Mike McClure and Retired Officer Keli Theison – and the Career Criminal Squad, which includes Sergeant Eric Greenwell, Master Detective Reed Buente and Detectives Joe Daneff, Robert Browning, Vern Huth, Tim Smith and Craig Horalek. Also recognized were members of FBI, ATF, U.S. Marshals and Independence Police Department Career Criminal Squad.