Federal and Kentucky authorities have arrested 17 people who were allegedly connected to a scheme of trafficking large quantities of drugs from Owensboro to Evansville, Ind. The arrests and charges were announced by the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Indiana.

According to news reports, three of the defendants are from Owensboro and 13 are from Evansville. Some of the arrested individuals are alleged to be members of the Evansville Grim Reapers Motorcycle Club. A federal grand jury returned indictments for conspiring to distribute methamphetamine, distributing methamphetamine, possession of methamphetamine and a variety of weapons charges. The alleged leaders of the ring are Evansville residents.

The press release from the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Indiana claims that the leaders allegedly acquired methamphetamine from their supplier in Owensboro. They were then accused of distributing the methamphetamine to people who worked as mid-level drug distributors. The mid-level distributors are accused of distributing methamphetamine to lower-level distributors or drug users. Federal agents reportedly spent months investigating the case. When they served search and arrest warrants at multiple homes, they reportedly recovered 30 pounds of methamphetamine and 22 firearms. The police continue to search for two remaining suspects. Sixteen of those charged are facing up to life in prison, and one faces up to 10 years.

Drug crimes often come with harsh punishments in Kentucky. When there are large quantities of drugs involved, a defendant might be charged in federal court and face even stiffer penalties. Drug offenses involving allegations of distribution, trafficking and sales can result in sentences to decades in prison. Someone who has been charged with any type of drug offense may want to retain a criminal defense attorney as early as possible. This can provide the lawyer with more time to investigate the case.