News Release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 30, 2009
Contact: Thomas E. Murphy
(314) 538-4660

Business Owner From Stanton, MO Pleads Guilty to Marijuana
Conspiracy Charges

JUL 30 -- (ST. LOUIS, MO) - Harry S. Sommers, Special Agent in Charge of DEA’s St. Louis Division joined with Acting U.S. Attorney Michael W. Reap and Franklin County Narcotics Enforcement Unit Detective Sergeant Jason Grellner to announce that Daniel Bryan Webster, 41, Stanton, MO, pleaded guilty to one felony count of conspiracy to possession with intent to distribute over 100 kilograms of marijuana, twelve felony counts of structuring financial transactions to evade reporting requirements, and one criminal forfeiture count. The forfeiture count will require the forfeiture of proceeds of the illegal activity. Subject to forfeiture is $235,320, a 2003 Dodge Viper, a 1956 Thunderbird, a 1988 Ferrari 328 GTS and a 2004 Gator X-Stream boat.

Webster admitted with his plea that between the Fall of 2004, through August 13, 2008, he led a conspiracy to possess and distribute marijuana in the Franklin county area with several co-defendants, and that his sources of supply were from the Houston, Texas area. Webster is the owner of Iron Gate Auto Sales in Cuba, MO. He appeared late Friday afternoon before United States District Judge Rodney W. Sippel.

“The Franklin County Narcotics Enforcement Unit (FCNEU), after many long months of investigation which was led by case agent Cpl. Scott Briggs, brought this case to a successful conclusion. What started as an undercover operation turned into a coordinated effort between the FCNEU, DEA, IRS, and the United States Attorney's Office,” said Detective Sergeant Jason Grellner, Franklin County Narcotics Unit. “Mr. Webster and accomplices have learned that profits made through the sale of illegal narcotics leads to lengthy jail sentences and loss of their ill-gotten gains.”

Harry S. Sommers, Special Agent in Charge of the DEA St. Louis Division stated, “This investigation and prosecution exemplifies the commitment and determination of DEA and our partners in law enforcement to ensure that criminal organizations face the consequences of their illegal activities. The DEA will continue to aggressively investigate these organizations and work closely with our federal, state, and local counterparts to insure maximum impact of our enforcement efforts.”

Three of the following co-defendants have pleaded guilty to related charges:

Brian Waltman, 41, Eureka, MO was sentenced to five years in prison March 2009;
Dennis Vaughn, 31, Riverview, MO, sentenced to five years probation May 2009;
Walter D. Forman, 69, Galveston, TX, pleaded guilty in January, sentencing September 2009;
Elmer Padilla, pleaded guilty in a separate indictment, and was sentenced to 10 years in prison in August 2008.
James P. Clark, 83, Galveston, Texas, is facing trial.

These charges carry a penalty range of five to 40 years in prison and/or fines up to $2,000,000. Reap commended the work on the case by the Franklin County Narcotics Task Force, the Crawford County Sheriff’s Department, the Drug Enforcement Administration, Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation; and Assistant United States Attorneys Noelle Collins and Zia Faruqui, who are handling the case for the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

The charges set forth in an indictment are merely accusations, and defendant Clark is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.