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07 July 2005

NOT approved Mongo rocketry!

Columbia (Missouri USA) Daily Tribune
Tuesday 28 June 2005

Rocket ready to launch
from meth suspects’ car

By JOE MEYER of the Tribune’s staff

Two Kentucky men face federal drug-trafficking charges after the Missouri State Highway Patrol allegedly found methamphetamine and cash in their vehicle along with a rocket system in the car’s trunk.

Authorities suspect the rocket was intended to jettison the drugs in the event it was detected by police.

Michael Ray Sullivan, 41, of Louisville, Ky., and Joseph C. Seidl, 39, of Sebree, Ky., were arrested Friday after a highway patrol trooper stopped them at Interstate 70 and Highway 54 in Kingdom City.

Don Ledford, spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Kansas City, said the suspects gave conflicting reports about where they were headed.

During a search of the 1990 Ford Thunderbird, officers discovered $13,534 in cash, Ledford said.

In the trunk, the officers also found a "hobby-style" rocket, described as 3 to 4 feet tall and 3 to 4 inches in diameter, Ledford said.

Police also found three devices that looked like pipe bombs, but further examination found they were phony, Ledford said. Methamphetamine was also hidden inside those devices.

There was an elaborate system of ropes and pulleys that lifted the rocket to an upright position when the trunk was lifted. It could be ignited from inside the car, via power from the cigarette lighter, Ledford said.

Authorities also found more than two pounds of methamphetamine, worth about $145,000, inside the rocket, he said.

The rocket was ready for launching, Ledford said, but he did not know whether the vehicle trunk could be opened from inside the car.

Officers believe the rocket was set up to launch the contraband if it were detected, patrol Trooper Rich Ferrari said in a news release.

Ledford declined to speculate about the rocket’s purpose.

"But they did have the meth inside the rocket, and it could be launched from inside the car," he said.

Reach Joe Meyer at (573) 815-1716 or

Copyright © 2005 The Columbia Daily Tribune. All Rights Reserved.


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