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Ten Area Residents Indicted for $5.4 Million Meth Conspiracy

Two of the defendants are St. Joseph, Mo. residents.

Posted: Dec 15, 2017 2:32 PM
Updated: Dec 15, 2017 3:34 PM

(KANSAS CITY, Mo.) Acting United States Attorney for the Western DIstrict of Missouri announced that 10 area residents have been indicted by a federal grand jury for their roles in a $5.4 million conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine.

Michaela Hernandez,36, of Raymore, Mo., Brandy Morgan, 44, of Kansas City, Mo., Anthony Fifer, 46, of Mexico, Mo., Sharmyn Shryock, 27, and Jeffery Jennings, 31, both of St. Joseph, Mo., Charlsie Harris, 33, of Garden City, Mo., Eric Ballard, 25, and Linda Ballard, 65, both of Atchison, Kan., Brian Russell, 36, of Amazonia, Mo., and Adrian Madrigal, 27, address unknown, were charged in a five-count indictment returned under seal by a federal grand jury on Nov. 16, 2017. The indictment has been unsealed following the arrests and initial court appearances of some of the defendants.

The federal indictment alleges that all 10 co-defendants participated in a conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine from Jan. 1, 2015, to Nov. 16, 2017. The indictment alleges the distribution of more than 321 kilograms of methamphetamine during the conspiracy.

The five co-defendants are also charged together in one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering in connection with the drug-trafficking conspiracy.

In addition to the conspiracy counts, Hernandez is charged with one count of possessing methamphetamine with the intent to distribute, one count of possessing firearms in furtherance of a drug-trafficking crime, and one count of being a felon in possession of firearms and ammunition.

Hernandez allegedly was in possession of a Springfield Armory 9mm handgun and a loaded Taurus 9mm handgun between April 1 and Oct. 14, 2017.

Under federal law, it is illegal for anyone who has been convicted of a felony to be in possession of any firearm or ammunition. Hernandez has a prior felony conviction for possession of a controlled substance.

The indictment also contains a forfeiture allegation, which would require all 10 co-defendants to forfeit to the government any property derived from the proceeds of the alleged drug-trafficking conspiracy, including a money judgment of $5.4 million.

This represents the amount of money received in exchange for the unlawful distribution of methamphetamine, the indictment says, based on an approximate sale price of $600 per ounce and distribution of at least 9,000 ounces (approximately 321.4 kilograms) of methamphetamine.

According to an affidavit filed in the original criminal complaint, law enforcement officers executed a search warrant at Hernandez’s prior residence in Grandview, Mo., on April 5, 2017.

Hernandez was arrested and officers seized approximately 1.46 kilograms of methamphetamine, the Springfield Armory 9mm handgun and drug paraphernalia. Hernandez allegedly told officers she distributed approximately 200 pounds of methamphetamine per month during the three to six months prior to her arrest.

On Oct. 14, 2017, law enforcement officers executed a search warrant at Hernandez’s Raymore residence. Hernandez was arrested and officers seized approximately 228 grams of methamphetamine, the loaded Taurus 9mm handgun and drug paraphernalia.

According to the affidavit, Hernandez told investigators that she pays between $4,700 and $6,500 per pound of methamphetamine. Hernandez allegedly stated she resupplies with the pound quantities approximately every four days.

Larson cautioned that the charges contained in this indictment are simply accusations, and not evidence of guilt.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Bruce Rhoades. It was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Plattsburg, Mo., Police Department; the Atchison County, Kan., Sheriff’s Department; the Buchanan County Drug Strike Force and Sheriff’s Department; the Jackson County Drug Task Force; the Clinton County, Mo., Sheriff’s Department; the Missouri State Highway Patrol; the Cass County, Mo., Sheriff’s Department; and the Clay County Drug Task Force.

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