Two with ties to Mexican drug cartels accused of dealing meth in Columbus

Bartholomew County’s Joint Narcotics Enforcement Team has arrested two people with ties to Mexican drug cartels who are accused of dealing methamphetamine in the Columbus area.

Detectives with the county’s Joint Narcotics Enforcement Team served a warrant Friday at 372 Center St. in Columbus as part of a multi-year investigation into methamphetamine dealing in the community, said Lt. Matt Harris, Columbus Police Department spokesman.

While serving the warrant, officers arrested Lucilma Santana, 50, Columbus, Harris said. Earlier in the investigation, officers had learned that her husband, Miguel P. Santana, 53, had fled the state and was living in Florida, Harris said.

Lucilma Santana
Lucilma Santana
Miguel Santana
Miguel Santana

Officers from the Seymour Indiana SWAT Team as well as the Santa Rosa County Sheriff’s Office in Florida served search warrants simultaneously at separate locations Friday, but did not locate Miguel P. Santana, Harris said.

At about 2:30 p.m. Friday, a Houston, Texas Police Department officer stopped Miguel P. Santana for a minor traffic violation and later confirmed he was wanted on multiple felony methamphetamine-dealing warrants for his arrest, Harris said.

JNET officials said the couple were major players in the local drug trade and were believed to be involved in two large profile drug busts made in 2016 on South Gladstone Avenue and the Hilltop Mobile Home Park, Harris said.

In the last 18 months, detectives have arrested about a dozen of the couple’s associates on narcotics charges, Harris said. Also during that time, officers have seized more than 30 pounds of methamphetamine and more than $300,000 in currency.

Lucilma Santana is being held in the Bartholomew County Jail on a warrant for dealing in methamphetamine. Miguel Santana is incarcerated in Houston, Texas on four arrest warrants for dealing in methamphetamine and is awaiting extradition back to Indiana.

For more on this story, see Tuesday’s Republic.