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
FEBRUARY 3, 2009
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
TWO KC MEN INDICTED FOR STEALING ATF MONEY
INSTEAD OF SELLING GUN, DEFENDANTS ALLEGEDLY
USED IT TO ROB CONFIDENTIAL INFORMANT
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – John F. Wood, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that two Kansas City, Mo., men were indicted by a federal grand jury today for stealing government property – ATF funds that were supposed to be used by a confidential informant to purchase a firearm. Instead of selling the firearm to the confidential informant, the defendants allegedly used the handgun to rob the informant.
Leron L. Morris, 23, and Johnny L. Bell, 27, both of Kansas City, were charged in an indictment returned by a federal grand jury in Kansas City today. Today’s indictment replaces a federal criminal complaint that was filed against Morris and Bell on Jan. 22, 2009.
The indictment alleges that Morris, aided and abetted by Bell, robbed another person of $225, which was the property of the United States.
According to an affidavit filed in support of the original criminal complaint, the ATF provided a confidential informant with $225 of pre-recorded buy money for the purchase of a chrome-plated .38-caliber handgun. At Bell’s direction, the affidavit says, an undercover police officer drove both the informant and Bell to meet Morris in order to purchase the firearm from him. The informant and Bell got into Morris’ vehicle while the undercover officer waited nearby.
However, when Morris displayed the firearm, he allegedly pointed it at the informant and demanded all of his money. Bell and the informant then ran in different directions from Morris’ vehicle. Morris drove away from the scene, but stopped to pick up Bell a short distance away.
Wood cautioned that the charge contained in this indictment is simply an accusation, and not evidence of guilt. Evidence supporting the charge must be presented to a federal trial jury, whose duty is to determine guilt or innocence.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Bruce E. Clark. It was investigated by the Kansas City, Mo., Police Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
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