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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


SEPTEMBER 5, 2007

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


FIVE SPRINGFIELD MEN, MARSHFIELD WOMAN SENTENCED

FOR MARIJUANA CONSPIRACY


            SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – John F. Wood, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced today that five Springfield, Mo., men and a Marshfield, Mo., woman have been sentenced in federal court for participating in a conspiracy to distribute thousands of pounds of marijuana in Greene and Webster counties.


             Norman L. Schafer, 51, of Springfield, was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Richard E. Dorr this morning to four years and two months in federal prison without parole. Billy J. Berringer, 28, Benjamin D. Christian, 30, Travis Hodge, 24, and David E. Foxx, 30, all of Springfield, and Donna S. Berringer, 29, of Marshfield, were sentenced on Wednesday, Sept. 6, 2007. Billy Berringer was sentenced to nine years and two months in federal prison without parole. The court also ordered Billy Berringer to forfeit to the government his property in Marshfield that was used to store the marijuana he obtained from California prior to redistribution. Christian and Foxx were each sentenced to five years in federal prison without parole. The court also ordered Foxx to forfeit to the government a 2000 Lincoln Navigator that was used to commit the offense. Hodge was sentenced to six years and six months in federal prison without parole. Donna Berringer was sentenced to three years and nine months in federal prison without parole.


             All six of the defendants have pleaded guilty to participating in a conspiracy to distribute more than 1,000 kilograms of marijuana from Oct. 16, 2003, to Feb. 8, 2005, in Greene and Webster counties. Billy Berringer also pleaded guilty to participating in a related money-laundering conspiracy.


             Billy Berringer admitted that he directed co-conspirators – including his sister, Donna Berringer – to travel to California to obtain marijuana from co-defendant Julio Lopez, 29, of Tulare, Calif., then transport it back to Webster County. Donna Berringer admitted that she was paid $2,500 for each of three trips to California in 2004 to obtain marijuana for transportation back to Missouri.


             Billy Berringer and Schafer prepared the marijuana for distribution, then Billy Berringer distributed the marijuana to other co-defendants, including Damien M. Foxx, 29, and David Lee Harris, 39, both of Springfield. Law enforcement officers, while executing a search warrant on Schafer’s property, discovered approximately 300 pounds of marijuana that Billy Berringer had recently received from California that he was preparing for redistribution. Billy Berringer admitted that he used the cash proceeds from the sale of marijuana in order to purchase more marijuana.


            These six co-defendants sentenced today are among 24 co-defendants who were charged in a Nov. 2, 2005, superseding indictment. Fifteen of those co-defendants have now been sentenced.


             * Curtis Scott Cruise, 28, of Springfield, was sentenced on Aug. 7, 2007, to five years in federal prison without parole. Cruise pleaded guilty on April 13, 2007, to his role in the marijuana conspiracy.


             * George Dye, 25, of Springfield, was sentenced on Nov. 8, 2006, to 12 years and seven months in federal prison without parole. On July 26, 2006, Dye pleaded guilty to his role in the marijuana conspiracy. Dye admitted that he stored marijuana at his residence during the conspiracy, and assisted in the distribution of marijuana to other members of the conspiracy who came to the residence. Dye also admitted that he was in possession of a Taurus 9 mm handgun with ammunition, and a Ruger Mark II rifle with a scope during the course of, and in connection to, the conspiracy. During the course of the conspiracy, Dye admitted, the most reasonably forseeable amount of marijuana distributed by the conspiracy was at least 1,000 kilograms but less than 3,000 kilograms.


             * Ryan S. Dill, 25, of Springfield, was sentenced on Nov. 3, 2006, to 11 years and three months in federal prison without parole. On July 14, 2006, Dill pleaded guilty to his role in the marijuana conspiracy. Dill admitted that he received large amounts of marijuana to distribute in the Springfield area – on one occasion, Dill received 11 kilograms of marijuana for redistribution, which was eventually seized by the Missouri State Highway Patrol. Dill also pleaded guilty to participating in a money-laundering conspiracy. Dill admitted that he reinvested the cash proceeds from his sale of marijuana into the conspiracy in order to obtain more marijuana. Dill agreed to forfeit to the government residential property in Springfield as well as $22,802 that was placed in escrow following the sale of property in Pleasant Hope, Mo.; both properties were purchased with the proceeds of the marijuana conspiracy.


             * Julio Lopez, 29, of Tulare, Calif., was sentenced on Aug. 4, 2006, to 10 years in federal prison without parole. On April 19, 2006, Lopez pleaded guilty to his role in the marijuana conspiracy. Lopez also admitted that he distributed approximately 575 grams of methamphetamine to individuals in southwest Missouri.


             * Michael E. Spear, 25, of Marshfield, Mo, was sentenced on July 27, 2007, to five years in federal prison without parole. On June 16, 2006, Spear pleaded guilty to his role in the marijuana conspiracy.


             * Devin J. Green, 28, of Marshfield, was sentenced on July 27, 2007, to 13 months in federal prison without parole. On April 12, 2007, Green pleaded guilty to his role in the marijuana conspiracy.


             * Landon C. Roper, 23, of Springfield, was sentenced on Aug. 2, 2007, to four years in federal prison without parole. On September 14, 2006, Roper pleaded guilty to his role in the marijuana conspiracy.


             * James M. Allen, 31, of Pierce City, Mo., was sentenced on Aug. 3, 2007, to two years and 11 months in federal prison without parole. On September 15, 2006, Allen pleaded guilty to his role in the marijuana conspiracy.

 

             * Jeremiah Lucas Louthan, 28, of West Plains, Mo., was sentenced on Aug. 3, 2007, to two years and 11 months in federal prison without parole. On August 8, 2006, Louthan pleaded guilty to his role in the marijuana conspiracy.

 

             Damien M. Foxx, 29, Danny Osborne, 39, and Willie Foxx, 24, all of Springfield, were convicted by a federal jury of participating in the marijuana conspiracy and await sentencing. Damien Fox was also convicted of participating in a related money-laundering conspiracy. Darius L. Ellis, 28, Joshua L. Parrow, 28, Lameeka C. Jeffries, 25, and David Lee Harris, 39, all of Springfield, Crystal L. Fox, 33, of Marshfield and Mark A. Nelson, 26, of Pleasant Hope, Mo., have pleaded guilty and await sentencing.


            This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Randall D. Eggert. The case was investigated by IRS – Criminal Investigation, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, COMET (the Combined Ozarks Multi-jurisdictional Enforcement Team), the Missouri State Highway Patrol, the Greene County, Mo., Sheriff’s Department, the Webster County, Mo., Sheriff’s Department, 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/index.html