Husband, wife face meth-dealing charges with ties to Mexican cartels

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) — A husband and wife are under arrest after a multiyear investigation into methamphetamine dealing with ties to Mexican drug cartels, police said.

During a raid Friday morning in the 300 block of Center Street in Columbus, officers arrested Lucilma Santana, 50, of Columbus. Earlier in the investigation, detectives learned that Lucilma’s husband, Miguel P. Santana, 53, had fled the state and was residing in Florida, according to a news release issued Monday by the Bartholomew County Joint Narcotics Enforcement Team.

Officers from the Seymour, Indiana, special weapons and tactics team as well as the Santa Rosa County, Florida, Sheriff’s Office served search warrants simultaneously at separate locations on Friday; however, Miguel Santana was not located, the release said. But on Friday afternoon, an officer with the Houston, Texas, Police Department stopped Miguel for a minor traffic violation and later confirmed multiple felony methamphetamine dealing warrants for his arrest. He was taken into custody without incident.

Narcotics investigators said the husband and wife were major players in the local drug trade and were believed to be involved in two large profile drug busts made in 2015 and 2016 in Bartholomew County on South Gladstone Avenue and at the Hilltop Mobile Home Park, the release said. In the last 18 months, detectives have arrested approximately a dozen associates of the Santana’s on narcotics charges. During this time, officers seized over 30 pounds of methamphetamine and over $300,000 in currency.

Authorities were continuing their investigation and said they expected to make more arrests.

Lucilma Santana was taken to the Bartholomew County Jail on the warrant charging her with dealing in methamphetamine, a felony.

Miguel Santana remained in Houston on four warrants for dealing in methamphetamine, all felonies, and was awaiting extradition back to Indiana.

The Joint Narcotics Enforcement Team is a combined unit of the Bartholomew County Sheriff’s Office, the Columbus Police Department and the Bartholomew County Prosecutor’s Office. It is targeting the manufacturing and abuse of dangerous drugs in Columbus and the rest of Bartholomew County.

Columbus is about 35 miles southeast of Indianapolis.