Columbus couple accused of ties to Mexican drug cartel, meth deals

Miguel and Lucilma Santana on Oct. 2, 2017, faced meth-dealing charges in Bartholomew County, Indiana. (Photo Provided/Bartholomew County Joint Narcotics Enforcement Team)

COLUMBUS, Ind. (WISH) – Authorities have arrested two people from Columbus accused of dealing methamphetamine and having ties to the Mexican drug cartel.

Lucilma and Miguel Santana are both behind bars after an extensive investigation lasting more than a year.

Columbus police describe the two as “high level dealers.” They say this couple and their associates contributed to a large amount of the meth in Columbus and south central Indiana.

“When undercover buys were conducted we were dealing not in ounces, like we usually deal with, but rather in pounds of meth that were being purchased,” said Lt. Matt Harris with Columbus Police Department.

According to Harris, during the course of the investigation into the Santanas and about a dozen of their associates, more than 30 pounds of meth and more than $300,000 were recovered.

After a “meticulous and detailed” investigation, police raided a home in the 300 block of Center Street on Friday.

Lucilma was arrested during the raid. Authorities say her husband had already left the state.

“It is our understanding that Miguel fled the state of Indiana and went down to Florida because he felt the heat from our investigators,” Harris said.

Authorities served search warrants in Florida, but just hours after the raid in Columbus, Miguel Santana was pulled over and arrested in Texas.

Miguel and Lucilma Santana are both facing felony charges. According to Columbus police, the investigation is ongoing and more arrests and charges are expected.

Columbus police say they worked with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and various law enforcement agencies in Indiana, Florida and Texas on this case.