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NEWS RELEASE

OFFICE OF THE UNITED STATES ATTORNEY

WESTERN DISTRICT OF MISSOURI


JOHN F. WOOD


Contact Don Ledford, Public Affairs ● (816) 426-4220 ● 400 East Ninth Street, Room 5510 ● Kansas City, MO 64106

www.usdoj.gov/usao/mow/index.html


AUGUST 31, 2007

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


OPERATION FAMILY TREE


13 DEFENDANTS CHARGED WITH DRUG TRAFFICKING,

FIREARMS VIOLATIONS


            SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – John F. Wood, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced today that 13 defendants have been indicted by a federal grand jury, in four separate but related cases, with drug trafficking and firearms violations.


             Each of the four indictments results from Operation Family Tree, a multi-agency law enforcement investigation that targeted the large-scale distribution of methamphetamine and marijuana in southern Missouri and Oklahoma. The indictments were returned by a federal grand jury in Springfield on Wednesday, Aug. 29, 2007.


USA v. McClain, et al


             Michael W. McClain, 34, Lane W. Bohmont, 23, Debra K. McPherson, 51, Richard D. Friederich, 25, and Cory S. Clines, 21, all of Springfield, Mo., and Jeff L. Cox, 43, of Ozark, Mo., were charged in a 34-count indictment that was returned under seal. That indictment was unsealed and made public today upon McClain’s arrest and initial court appearance.


             The federal indictment alleges that all six defendants participated in a conspiracy to distribute 500 grams or more of methamphetamine in Greene County, Mo., from July 1, 2005, to Aug. 2, 2006.


             In addition to the methamphetamine conspiracy, the indictment alleges that McClain participated in a conspiracy to distribute 100 kilograms or more of marijuana in Greene County from Feb. 1, 2004, to Aug. 2, 2006. McClain is also charged with three counts of possession with the intent to distribute methamphetamine, two counts of possession with the intent to distribute five grams or more of methamphetamine and one count of possession with the intent to distribute cocaine.


             McClain is also charged with two counts of possessing firearms in furtherance of drug-trafficking crimes. The indictment alleges that McClain possessed a Magnum .44-caliber handgun and ammunition, as well as a Cobra .380-caliber handgun with ammunition, on separate occasions during the commission of the alleged drug-trafficking crimes. McClain is also charged with three counts of being an unlawful user of methamphetamine while in possession of a Springfield Armory .40-caliber pistol and ammunition, a Magnum .44-caliber handgun and ammunition, and a Cobra .380-caliber handgun with ammunition.


             In addition to the methamphetamine conspiracy, Bohmont is charged with one count of possession with the intent to distribute methamphetamine, one count of possession with the intent to distribute 50 grams or more of methamphetamine and one count of possession with the intent to distribute cocaine.


             Bohmont is also charged with one count of possessing firearms in furtherance of drug-trafficking crimes. The indictment alleges that Bohmont was in possession of a Heckler and Koch 9 mm semi-automatic handgun with ammunition, a Beretta .22-caliber semi-automatic handgun with ammunition, and an Intratect .22-caliber semi-automatic handgun with ammunition. The indictment also charges Bohmont with being a felon in possession of those firearms.


             In addition to the methamphetamine conspiracy, Cox is charged with three counts of possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine and one count of possession with intent to distribute 50 grams or more of methamphetamine.


             In addition to the methamphetamine conspiracy, Friederich is charged with one count of possession with the intent to distribute cocaine, two counts of possession with the intent to distribute methamphetamine, and one count of possession with the intent to distribute marijuana. Friederich is also charged with being an unlawful user of methamphetamine while in possession of a Thompson Center Arms .22-caliber handgun and while in possession of 9 mm ammunition.


             In addition to the methamphetamine conspiracy, McPherson is charged with two counts of possession with the intent to distribute methamphetamine.


             In addition to the methamphetamine conspiracy, Clines is charged with three counts of possession with the intent to distribute 50 grams or more of methamphetamine, one count of possession with the intent to distribute five grams or more of methamphetamine, and with being an unlawful user of methamphetamine while in possession of a Titan .25-caliber firearm and ammunition.


             A forfeiture allegation contained in the federal indictment would require various defendants to forfeit to the government any property used to commit the alleged violations, or derived from any proceeds of the alleged violations, including a total of $36,794 that was seized on separate occasions by law enforcement officers, as well as a 2001 GMC Yukon Denali and a 2007 Nissan 350Z.


             Another forfeiture allegation would require the defendants to forfeit to the government all of the firearms involved in the alleged offenses.


USA v. Bohmont, et al


             Wade Bohmont, 32, address unknown, and James Cooper, 39, and Colton D. Inmon, 19, both of Ozark, were charged in a two-count indictment.


             The federal indictment alleges that Bohmont, Cooper and Inmon participated in a conspiracy to distribute five grams or more of methamphetamine in Greene County on May 17 and 18, 2006. The indictment also alleges that Bohmont, Cooper and Inmon were in possession with the intent to distribute five grams or more of methamphetamine on May 18, 2006.


             A forfeiture allegation would require Bohmont, Cooper and Inmon to forfeit to the government any property used to commit the alleged offense or derived from the proceeds of the alleged offense, including $4,305 that was seized by law enforcement officers and a Norinco .45-caliber semi-automatic handgun and ammunition.


USA v. Luce, et al


             Rhonda R. Luce, 33, of Rogersville, Mo., and Ricky P. Hicks, 54, of Fordland, Mo., were charged in a four-count indictment.


             The federal indictment alleges that Luce and Hicks participated in a conspiracy to distribute 50 grams or more of methamphetamine in Greene County on Dec. 15 and 16, 2005.


             In addition to the methamphetamine conspiracy, Luce and Hicks are each charged with separate counts of possession with the intent to distribute 50 grams or more of methamphetamine. Luce is also charged with an additional count of possession with the intent to distribute methamphetamine.


             A forfeiture allegation contained in the federal indictment would require Luce to forfeit to the government any proceeds of the alleged violations, including $13,925 that was seized by law enforcement officers.


USA v. Wilson, et al


             Kelly D. Wilson, 36, and Robert J. Taylor, 38, both of Springfield, were charged in a six-count indictment.


             The federal indictment alleges that Wilson and Taylor participated in a conspiracy to distribute 50 grams or more of methamphetamine in Greene County from Aug. 24 to Dec. 15, 2006.


             Taylor is also charged with one count of distributing methamphetamine and three counts of distributing five grams or more of methamphetamine.


             Wilson is also charged with one count of distributing methamphetamine and one count of distributing five grams or more of methamphetamine.


             A forfeiture count contained in the federal indictment would require Wilson to forfeit to the government any proceeds of the alleged violations, including $7,335 that was seized by law enforcement officers.


            Wood cautioned that the charges contained in these indictments are simply accusations, and not evidence of guilt. Evidence supporting the charges must be presented to a federal trial jury, whose duty is to determine guilt or innocence.


            These cases are being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Randall D. Eggert. They were investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Springfield, Mo., Police Department, COMET (the Combined Ozarks Multi-jurisdictional Enforcement Team), the Missouri South Central Drug Task Force, the Oklahoma City, Okla., Police Department, the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs, the Ozark, Mo., Police Department, the Nixa, Mo., Police Department, the Lakes Area Narcotics Enforcement Group (LANEG) and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

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This news release, as well as additional information about the office of the United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, is available on-line at

www.usdoj.gov/usao/mow/index.html