Springfield, Illinois – A Springfield Task Force Officer (TFO) who is assigned to the DEA/Springfield Residence Office made a drug bust in Springfield, Illinois after monitoring a Springfield Man who is currently in Federal Custody.
According to the Springfield Task Force Officer, the Springfield Police Department, DEA agents, and the Illinois State Police have identified targets of an ongoing narcotics distribution. A suspect, Brandon D. Howell, age 37, was identified to us as one of the targets in the current ongoing narcotics distribution investigation. Howell, who is currently a federal detainee in the Livingston County Jail, was indicted in federal court for conspiracy to distribute cocaine and methamphetamine in November of 2020.
In March 2021, DEA agents began to monitor video/chat and phone calls made from Howell in the Livingston County Jail. During the video/chat all inmates are told that their phone calls and video chats are being recorded prior to the phone call connecting with the other party. In addition, the outside party is also advised by recording that an inmate from the Livingston County Jail is calling and that the phone calls are recorded.
On June 14, 2021, a DEA agent reviewed a 30 minute video/chat between Howell and a Springfield individual that took place on June 13, 2021. At this time, the unidentified individual was only named to us as a co-conspirator of Howell.
The video chat that occurred between Howell and his co-conspirator allowed Howell to speak and see his co-conspirator from inside the Livingston County Jail. His co-conspirator was also able to see him and talk back to him utilizing a smart phone. In this case, Howell’s co-conspirator was at home while the video chat was taking place.
Some time during the video chat Howell told his co-conspirator that he needed them to do something for him and asked if they had the zip lock bag and asked if it was the big one. The co-conspirator responded back and said it isn’t the big one but that it is medium sized. Howell then asked his co-conspirator to show it to him. Howell’s co-conspirator was then seen on video getting up and walking within the house. While his co-conspirator is walking to get the zip lock bag, Howell then said to get the bag as well as the thing that they got from his cousin.
Howell is then heard on video chat saying to his co-conspirator that he needs them to “mix” it up. Howell’s co-conspirator is then seen walking into the kitchen area and eventually turned the phone camera around away from themselves and showed Howell two zip lock bags on the kitchen counter. According to the Springfield Task Force Officer, one of the bags contained an unknown substance while the other bag on the counter was empty. After Howell saw the bags, he immediately told his co-conspirator to take the camera off the bags.
Howell then told his co-conspirator to take a paper cup and get the “calculator” (electronic scale), press TARE, which will zero out (reset) the electronic scale, and to take the “200 of the thing that you got from your sister” (205 grams of cut) and put it in the cup. Howell’s co-conspirator then responded, “why are you talking like that,” referring to Howell talking over the video chat about narcotics. Howell responded back asking his co-conspirator how was he supposed to explain it without talking like that?
The conversation continued and Howell is still heard directing his co-conspirator on what to do and how to mix the narcotics with the cut. When Howell’s co-conspirator was finished with what they were doing, Howell was heard asking if they mixed the 205 with the 100, which referred to making 300 grams of narcotics. Howell’s co-conspirator responded and said they never weighed it, but that it was mixed up like he asked. Howell then told his co-conspirator to put the narcotics somewhere where it won’t be found because it can kill someone if they found it. According to the DEA, this led agents to believe Howell was having his co-conspirator mix heroin/fentanyl with cut.
Agents were able to track down the co-conspirator’s address with the help of City Water Light and Power (CWLP). Once CWLP provided the address of the co-conspirator, DEA agents went to the Springfield Address and conducted a search of the residence.
Found inside the residence was plastic bags of cannabis, located in the kitchen and a stolen Ruger .380 pistol, located in the master bedroom.
A search of the co-conspirator’s vehicle turned up 310 grams of fentanyl and 1038 grams of unknown powder.
At this time, there was no immediate record of an arrest.