- Associated Press - Saturday, March 19, 2016

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (AP) - Federal prosecutors say a man at the center of a large-scale southwest Missouri drug operation put more than $10 million into slot machines at an Oklahoma casino.

Patrick Brigaudin, 54, of Springfield, was arrested late last month along with three other men for conspiracy to distribute large amounts of drugs. According to court documents, agents found large quantities of methamphetamine heroin in his garage on Feb. 29.

In a government motion to keep Brigaudin in custody without bond until his trial, prosecutors said his arrest was the culmination of an investigation spanning nearly 21/2 years that resulted in authorities seizing more than 50 pounds of meth attributed to him, the Springfield News-Leader (sgfnow.co/1Ui1jXC) reported.

Court documents say investigators determined that Brigaudin was a “large-scale methamphetamine distributor” in southwest Missouri. He has access to “enormous sums of money” and recently had traveled outside the U.S., prosecutors said in the motion.

Data provided by Downstream Casino Resort in Quapaw, Oklahoma, show Brigaudin put nearly $10.1 million into slot machines between January 2009 and April 2015 and withdrew just over $8.4 million from them, prosecutors said.

“The weight of evidence against the defendant and the substantial sentence he faces provide him with a very strong incentive to flee if he is released on bond,” they wrote.

Brigaudin and three other men were taken into custody on Feb. 29 after federal agents who had set up surveillance outside Brigadin’s house saw a Dodge pickup truck pull into his garage. Authorities quickly raided the property with a search warrant they had obtained a few days earlier.

Agents found 12 pounds of meth and 6 1/2 pounds of heroin in a secret compartment under the bed of the truck, according to the complaint.

The three other men at the scene, Timothy Hall, 54; Adrian Ortiz-Corrales, 41; and Eduardo Diaz, 51, have been charged with conspiracy to distribute drugs. All four defendants are being held without bond.

Phone messages left with their attorneys were not returned.

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Information from: Springfield News-Leader, https://www.news-leader.com

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