• Last modified 594 days ago (Dec. 8, 2022)


Turnpike alert nets drug bust

Staff writer

Tipped off by turnpike authorities, sheriff’s deputies stopped a stolen pickup and uncovered a large cache of drugs Nov. 20.

Turnpike authorities told the county a pickup stolen from Wichita had gone through a toll booth west of El Dorado and headed north on US-77.

Deputies waited for the truck to reach Marion County and arrested a Texas man at the Marion roundabout on US-56/77/K-150.

The turnpike, with cameras mounted to read license tags of vehicles that go through toll booths, occasionally reports stolen vehicles headed this direction, Sheriff Jeff Soyez said.

Deputy Josh Meliza spotted Kristopher L. Kienzle, 47, Red Oak, Texas, driving the 1996 GMC Yukon that had been reported stolen earlier the same early morning.

Meliza already had called for backup to meet him two miles north of there at the roundabout.

Marion officer Zach Hudlin and deputy Landis Goodman assisted.

After Meliza’s drug dog sniffed the vehicle, deputies found a glass smoking pipe and 34 grams of methamphetamine, enough for 1,340 medicinal doses.

Kienzle, 47, was arrested on suspicion of distribution of stimulants, possession of stolen property, and possession of drug paraphernalia. He bonded out Thursday on a $15,000 surety bond.

The pickup, reported stolen by Miguel A.C. Santos of Wichita, had a broken front window and a punched-out ignition.

Last modified Dec. 8, 2022