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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


MAY 27, 2008

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


JURY CONVICTS KC MAN FOR MURDER

RELATED TO METH TRAFFICKING


MANDATORY LIFE IN FEDERAL PRISON

WITHOUT PAROLE


            KANSAS CITY, Mo. – John F. Wood, United States Attorney for the Western

District of Missouri, announced that a Kansas City, Mo., man was convicted by a federal jury today in the 1998 murder of an Independence, Mo., man to prevent the victim from cooperating with law enforcement authorities investigating illegal methamphetamine trafficking.


            Darren A. Frank, also known as “Derwood,” 42, of Kansas City, was found guilty of the charges contained in a Sept. 25, 2006, second superseding indictment related to the murder of Douglas C. Weil of Independence, whose body was discovered on Feb. 9, 1998.


            “This defendant was the enforcer for a major producer of methamphetamine in Independence, Mo., and the triggerman in a murder that was designed to silence a potential informant,” Wood said. "Today’s conviction represents significant progress in our effort to combat gang violence and illegal drug trafficking. I appreciate the diligence of our trial team and law enforcement officers from several agencies in the metropolitan area who worked together to bring this defendant to justice.”


            Frank was found guilty of murdering Weil while engaged in the manufacture and distribution of methamphetamine between Jan. 1, 1996, and Sept. 21, 1999. Frank was also found guilty of using a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime and of killing Weil with the intent to prevent him from communicating with a law enforcement officer about the manufacture and distribution of methamphetamine.


            Co-defendant John “Phil” Street, 46, formerly of Jackson County, was found guilty of the same murder in a separate trial that concluded Dec. 12, 2006.


            Evidence presented during those trials indicated that Street was manufacturing a large amount of methamphetamine, which he primarily supplied to members of the El Forastero outlaw motorcycle gang. Frank, a member of the El Forasteros, worked for Street as an enforcer in his drug-trafficking business. Street was suspicious that Weil was cooperating with law enforcement and offered Frank $5,000 to murder him.


            Following the presentation of evidence, the jury in U.S. District Court in Kansas City

deliberated about four hours over two days before returning the guilty verdicts to U.S. District Judge Gary A. Fenner, ending a trial that began May 19, 2008.


            Under federal statutes, Frank and Street are each subject to a mandatory sentence of life in federal prison without parole. Sentencing hearings will be scheduled after the completion of presentence investigations by the United States Probation Office.


            This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jeff Valenti and K. Michael Warner. It was investigated by the Kansas City, Mo., Police Department, the Metro Meth Drug Task Force, the Jackson County Drug Task Force, and the Independence, 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