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NEWS RELEASE

OFFICE OF THE UNITED STATES ATTORNEY

WESTERN DISTRICT OF MISSOURI


BRADLEY J. SCHLOZMAN



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



MARCH 30, 2007

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


TWO JOPLIN MEN SENTENCED FOR DRUG TRAFFICKING


            SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Bradley J. Schlozman, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced today that two Joplin, Mo., men have been sentenced in federal court for participating in a conspiracy to distribute crack cocaine in Jasper County, Mo.


            * Brian L. McDaniel, also known as Barrion, 31, of Joplin, Mo., and formerly of Tulsa, Okla., was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Gary A. Fenner on Thursday, March 29, 2007, to 20 years in federal prison without parole.


            McDaniel pleaded guilty on Dec. 6, 2002, to participating in the conspiracy to distribute crack cocaine. McDaniel admitted that he engaged in the distribution of crack cocaine in and around the Tulsa and Joplin areas as a member of the Tulsa-area Red Mob Gangsters, a subset of the Bloods street gang, from July 1999 through July 2001. On Dec. 9, 1999, McDaniel sold approximately one gram of crack cocaine to a confidential informant. On different occasions, law enforcement officers seized quantities of crack cocaine, drug paraphernalia and cash from two homes that were used by McDaniel to store and distribute drugs and money. When a search warrant was executed in Tulsa on July 8, 2001, officers found McDaniel in possession of crack cocaine and cash. The total amount of crack cocaine attributable to McDaniel is at least 500 grams but less than 1.5 kilograms.


            * Israel D. Ward, 34, of Joplin and formerly of Tulsa, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Gary A. Fenner on Thursday, March 29, 2007, to 10 years in federal prison without parole.


            Ward pleaded guilty on July 15, 2005, to his role in the conspiracy to distribute 50 grams or more of crack cocaine in Jasper County between September 1998 and December 2000. Ward came to Joplin from Tulsa in August 1998 and began assisting others in the manufacture and distribution of crack cocaine. Ward admitted that he cooked powder cocaine into crack cocaine for distribution by himself and others. The crack cocaine was kept and sold at several different locations in Joplin, including 2116 Grand. Ward also assisted co-conspirators by transporting them to Tulsa to obtain powder cocaine, which was subsequently transformed into crack cocaine before being distributed.


            McDaniel and Ward are among seven co-defendants charged in a May 2, 2002, federal indictment and subsequent superseding indictments.


            * Thomas D. Smith, also known as “Mad Dog,” 33, a Joplin area resident, was found guilty on Feb. 7, 2007, of two counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of Paris Harbin and Chandy Bresee-Plumb and awaits sentencing. The jury was unable to reach a unanimous decision whether to sentence Smith to death or to life in federal prison without parole; therefore, under federal statutes, the court must sentence Smith to life in federal prison without parole on each of the two murder counts.


            On Jan. 29, 2007, the first day of the trial following jury selection, Smith pleaded guilty to participating in a conspiracy to distribute 50 grams or more of crack cocaine in Jasper County from as early as January, 1999 to December, 2000. Under federal statutes, Smith is subject to a sentence of life in federal prison without parole as a result of that conviction. Smith also pleaded guilty to managing a crack house – a residence at 115 Cleveland in Joplin, which he made available for the purpose of unlawfully storing crack cocaine – and to being a felon and an unlawful drug user in possession of a firearm.


            Smith was a leader of the Red Mob Gangsters. Smith and other members of the gang moved to Joplin from Tulsa, Schlozman said, bringing a wave of drug distribution and drug-related violence from 1999 through 2001. Smith, who believed that Harbin was involved in the theft of money and a large quantity of crack cocaine from his crack house, confronted him in an upstairs bedroom at a friend’s apartment and shot each of the victims twice on December 13, 1999.


            Four co-defendants pleaded guilty and have been sentenced: Larry Darnell Saddler, also known as Laughin’ Larry, 48, of Carterville, Mo., Justin L. Triplett, 32, of Joplin, Ernesto V. Bell, also known as Stone, 31, and Victoria Gonzalez, 30, of Carthage.


            This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys David Rush and Randall D. Eggert. It was investigated by the Joplin, Mo., Police Department, the Jasper County Drug Task Force, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Joplin Area Major Case Squad, the Tulsa, Okla., Police Department, the Missouri State Highway Patrol, the Jasper County, Mo., Sheriff’s Department, the Newton County, Mo., Sheriff’s Department, COMET (the Combined Ozarks Multi-jurisdictional Enforcement Team), and the Springfield, Mo., Police Department.


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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