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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 28, 2007

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


OPERATION GHOSTBUSTERS


JURY CONVICTS FIVE DEFENDANTS OF MARIJUANA TRAFFICKING


ELEVEN ADDITIONAL CO-DEFENDANTS

PLEADED GUILTY


            JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – John F. Wood, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced today that five defendants have been convicted by a federal jury for their involvement in distributing hundreds of pounds of marijuana in Cole County, Mo.


             Rodney Keith Rodebaugh, 30, Douglas E. Comstock, 46, Frederick William Weddington, 47, and Bruce Allen Johnson, 29, all of Jefferson City, Mo., and Eugene Rodney Rodebaugh, 56, of Eldon, Mo., were each found guilty on Monday, Aug. 27, 2007, of various charges contained in a 54-count federal indictment.


             Rodney Rodebaugh was found guilty of participating in a conspiracy to distribute and to possess with the intent to distribute 100 kilograms or more of marijuana from as early as 1998 until July 2005.


             Rodney Rodebaugh was also found guilty of two counts of distributing cocaine, 11 counts of using a telephone to facilitate the drug trafficking conspiracy, one count of distributing marijuana, and one count of being a felon in possession of ammunition. Rodebaugh was also convicted on a criminal forfeiture allegation, which requires him to forfeit to the government a 2002 GMC Yukon, which was used to commit the violations.


             Eugene Rodebaugh was found guilty of participating in a conspiracy to distribute and to possess with the intent to distribute 50 kilograms or more of marijuana in Cole County from as early as 1998 until July 2005. Eugene Rodebaugh was also found guilty of two counts of using a telephone to facilitate the drug trafficking conspiracy and one count of possession with intent to distribute marijuana.


             Comstock was found guilty of participating in a conspiracy to distribute and to possess with the intent to distribute marijuana in Cole County from as early as 1998 until July 2005. Comstock was also found guilty of three counts of using a telephone to facilitate the drug trafficking conspiracy and one count of possession with intent to distribute marijuana.


             Weddington was found guilty of one count of using a telephone to facilitate drug trafficking.


             Johnson was found guilty of one count of using a telephone to facilitate the distribution and possession with intent to distribute marijuana.


            Following the presentation of evidence, the jury in U.S. District Court in Jefferson City deliberated about eight hours before returning the guilty verdicts to U.S. District Judge Nanette K. Laughrey, ending a trial that lasted from Aug. 20 to Aug. 24, 2007. Jury deliberations began late in the afternoon on Friday, Aug. 24, then resumed Monday, Aug. 27, and continued all day.


            Six co-defendants have already pleaded guilty to their role in the conspiracy to distribute marijuana, including David Edward Latham, 32, and Mark Allen Cavin, 31, both of Jefferson City, Shawn D. Reno, 33, of New Bloomfield, Mo., Olan Daniel George, 32, of Centertown, Mo., Craig Alan Wansing, 32, of Vienna, Mo., and Cyrus Otis Pope, 26, of Rolla, Mo. Additionally, Juan F. Aguilar, 33, of Kansas City, Mo., pleaded guilty to participating in a conspiracy to distribute marijuana and cocaine.


            Co-defendants Leonard Marshall Roark, 47, of Lohman, Mo., and Jon Lee Burke, 54, of Vienna, each pleaded guilty to using a telephone to facilitate the crimes of distribution and possession with the intent to distribute marijuana. Co-defendants Roy Lee Loethen, 47, of Holts Summit, Mo., and Arnold Wayne Juergens, 46, of Dixon, Mo., pleaded guilty to possessing marijuana.


            This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jim Lynn and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Lauren Kummerer. It was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Jefferson City, Mo., Police Department, MUSTANG (the Mid-Missouri Unified Strike Team and Narcotics Group), IRS-Criminal Investigation and the DEA Task Force in Kansas City, Mo.

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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