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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 29, 2008

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


OPERATION FAMILY TREE


SPRINGFIELD MAN PLEADS GUILTY TO METH CONSPIRACY,

FIREARMS VIOLATIONS


            SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – John F. Wood, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced today that a Springfield, Mo., man pleaded guilty in federal court to his role in a conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine in Greene County, Mo., and to various firearms violations.


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


             Michael W. McClain, 34, of Springfield, pleaded guilty on Wednesday, May 28, 2008. McClain admitted that he participated in a conspiracy to distribute 500 grams or more of methamphetamine from July 1, 2005, to Aug. 2, 2006. McClain also pleaded guilty to three separate charges related to illegally possessing firearms.


             McClain admitted that he was in possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug-trafficking crime. McClain possessed a Cobra .380-caliber handgun with ammunition on July 31, 2006, during the conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine. McClain also pleaded guilty to two counts of possessing a firearm while being an unlawful user of methamphetamine. McClain admitted that he possessed a Springfield Armory .40-caliber pistol and ammunition on March 28, 2006, and a Magnum .44-caliber handgun and ammunition on July 16, 2006.


             By pleading guilty today, McClain also agreed to forfeit to the government $12,750 that was seized by law enforcement officers, which was derived from the sale of methamphetamine, and a 2001 GMC Yukon Denali that was used to transport methamphetamine during the course of the conspiracy. McClain also agreed to forfeit the three firearms that he admitted to possessing illegally.


            Under federal statutes, McClain could be subject to a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years in federal prison without parole, up to life in federal prison without parole. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the completion of a presentence investigation by the United States Probation Office.


            This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Randall D. Eggert. It was 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