(KANSAS CITY, Mo.) A mother, her son, and her daughter are among four defendants who pleaded guilty in federal court Thursday to their roles in $5.4 million conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine in the areas of Kansas City, St. Joseph, and Atchison, Kan.
Linda Kay Ballard, Eric Edward Ballard, Charlsie Kim Harris, and Anthony Dewayne Fifer pleaded guilty in separate appearances before U.S. District Judge Brian C. Wimes to their roles in a conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine from Jan. 1, 2015, to Nov. 16, 2017.
Each of them also pleaded guilty to participating in money-laundering conspiracy.
Linda Ballard and Harris were taken into custody immediately after today's hearing. Eric Ballard and Fifer have been in federal
custody since their arrests.
The four are among nine defendants who have pleaded guilty in this case.
Michaela Joeanne Hernandez was identified by investigators as the main distributor in the organization, coordinating large distributions of methamphetamine between Kansas City, St. Joseph, and Atchison, Kan., where it was then divided and distributed by the defendants.
Law enforcement seized approximately three pounds of methamphetamine and two handguns when they executed a search warrant at her residence. Hernandez admitted that she was typically in possession of at least pound quantities of methamphetamine, and that she had been involved in selling over 50 kilograms of methamphetamine per month in the past year.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Bruce Rhoades. It was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration, Buchanan County Drug Strike Force, Buchanan County Sheriff's Office, Plattsburg Police Department, Atchison County, Kan. Sheriff's Department, Jackson County Drug Task Force, Clinton County Sheriff's Department, Missouri State Highway Patrol, Cass County Sheriff s Department, and the Clay County Drug Task Force.