OFFICE OF THE UNITED STATES ATTORNEY
WESTERN DISTRICT OF MISSOURI
MATT J. WHITWORTH
Contact Don Ledford, Public Affairs ● (816) 426-4220 ● 400 East Ninth Street, Room 5510 ● Kansas City, MO 64106
NOVEMBER 16, 2009
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
OPERATION FAMILY TREE
ARIZONA MAN SENTENCED FOR METH CONSPIRACY
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Matt J. Whitworth, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that a Litchfield, Ariz., man was sentenced in federal court today for participating in a conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine. This is the first sentencing resulting from Operation Family Tree, a multi-agency investigation into shipments of large quantities of methamphetamine from Arizona for distribution in the Springfield, Mo., area.
Juan Avila, also known as “Whopper,” 31, of Litchfield, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Ortrie D. Smith this afternoon to 10 years in federal prison without parole.
On June 26, 2009, Avila pleaded guilty to his role in the conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine in Greene County, Mo., beginning in December 2004. Avila’s participation in the conspiracy ended in February 2005 when he was charged in Arizona with soliciting the transportation of dangerous drugs for sale. Avila admitted that he was paid to transport multi-pound shipments of methamphetamine from Arizona to Springfield.
The amount of methamphetamine attributable to Avila, including relevant conduct, is more than five kilograms but less than 15 kilograms.
Avila is the first defendant sentenced as a result of Operation Family Tree. Thirteen co-defendants have pleaded guilty and await sentencing. Also pleading guilty to charges contained in the federal indictment are Sarah A. Weese, 23, of Nixa, and her two sisters, Stephanie K. Weese, 27, of Springfield, and Krystal G. Weese, 22, address unknown, as well as Jason W. Condra, 25, Toreiko S. Miller, 35, Joshua L. Kelley, 30, Angela M. Gentry, 41, and Jorge C. Ramirez, 26, all of Springfield, Aaron M. Garger, 45, of Buffalo, Charles M. Doyle, 48, incarcerated in federal prison, and Edward Ortiz, also known as “Juante,” 22, of Youngstown, Ariz., Rebecca P. Tudor, 52, of Phoneix, Ariz.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney David P. Rush. It was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, IRS-Criminal Investigation, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the Springfield, Mo., Police Department, the Greene County, Mo., Sheriff’s Department, the Polk County, Mo., Sheriff’s Department, COMET (the Combined Ozarks Multi-jurisdictional Enforcement Team), the Greene County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, the Bolivar, Mo., Police Department and the Arizona Department of Public Safety.
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