$320,000 in methamphetamine, 51 pounds of marijuana seized in Yuma County bust


(Photos: Yuma County Sheriff’s Office)

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YUMA COUNTY, Colo. — A shooting investigation led sheriff’s deputies to a major drug bust that included $320,000 in methamphetamine and 51 pounds of various forms of marijuana, the Yuma County Sheriff’s Office said Tuesday.

On Friday morning, the sheriff’s office was notified that 42-year-old Justin Bixler of Fairbury, Neb., had been shot in the hand and was being treated at Yuma District Hospital.

After several interviews, a be on the lookout alert was issued for a black Chevrolet Equinox being driven by 30-year-old Johnny Payne of Fairbury, the sheriff’s office said.

Later Friday, the Colorado State Patrol located the vehicle and found Payne at the Yuma swimming pool, where he was taken into custody.

Evidence of the shooting was found in the vehicle as well as less than 1 ounce of suspected methamphetamine and a small amount of marijuana.

The investigation led authorities to a county road north of Yuma and a search warrant was issued for a residence at 541 W. Hoag Ave.

Early Saturday morning during the execution of the search warrant, more evidence of the shooting was found, as well as about 7 pounds of methamphetamine, 3 ounces of cocaine, and about 51 pounds of marijuana and marijuana concentrates in various forms.

Deputies also seized ecstasy, suspected synthetic drugs, several prescription drugs, firearms and other illegal weapons, and stolen antiques from a reported robbery earlier in the summer.

The methamphetamine has a street value of nearly $320,000, the sheriff’s office said.

Authorities arrested 30-year-old Joshua Hansen during the execution of the search warrant.

Payne was arrested on charges of first-degree assault, possession of a Schedule II controlled substance, illegal discharge of a firearm, prohibited use of a firearm, possession of a weapon by a previous offender and menacing.

Hansen was arrested on suspicion of possession of a dangerous weapon, possession of a Schedule II controlled substance with intent to distribute, possession of a Schedule I controlled substance, possession of a Schedule II controlled substance, possession of marijuana with intent to distribute, extraction of marijuana concentrate, possession of a weapon by a previous offender, theft, possession of an illegal weapon, possession of drug paraphernalia with intent to distribute and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Both were booked into the Yuma County Jail.

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