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Police: Columbus couple ‘major players’ in local drug trade, have ties to cartels

Miguel Santana (left) and Lucilma Santana (right)

COLUMBUS, Ind. – Police in Indiana and Texas arrested two people considered “major players” in the local methamphetamine trade.

Columbus police said a multi-year investigation into meth dealing in Columbus and southern Indiana led them to raid a home at 372 Center St. in Columbus on Sept. 29. The raid included the Joint Narcotics Enforcement Team (JNET), Columbus Police Department K-9 Division, Bartholomew County Sheriff’s Office, Indiana State Police and the Drug Enforcement Agency.

Officers arrested Lucilma Santana, 50, and said they’d previously learned that her husband, Miguel P. Santana, 53, had left the state and was believed to be residing in Florida. Investigators believe the couple has ties to drug cartels operating from Mexico.

Officers from the Seymour Indiana SWAT Team and the Santa Rosa County (Fla.) County Sheriff’s Officers searched separate locations Friday in search of Miguel Santana but couldn’t find him.

On Friday afternoon, an officer with the Houston (Texas) Police Department stopped Santana for a minor traffic violation and took him into custody after learning he had multiple warrants out on methamphetamine-related charges.

Investigators described the couple as “major players” in the Bartholomew County drug trade and believed they are connected to two high-profile drug busts made last year. In the last 18 months, police have arrested a dozen associates of the couple on narcotics charges, seizing more than 30 pounds of meth and $300,000 in cash.

Lucilma Santana was taken to the Bartholomew County Jail on a charge of dealing in methamphetamine. Miguel Santana was jailed in Texas on four warrants for dealing methamphetamine and was awaiting extradition to Indiana.

Investigators said their investigation into illegal drugs in Columbus and Bartholomew County is ongoing. They expect more charges to be filed in the case.