News and Press Releases

oak grove man sentenced to 15 years
for $40 million meth conspiracy

1,000 pounds of chemical from KC plant used to manufacture meth

December 2, 2010

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Beth Phillips, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that an Oak Grove, Mo., man was sentenced in federal court today for his role in a criminal conspiracy that involved approximately 1,000 pounds of pseudoephedrine taken from the Sanofi-Aventis U.S., LLC pharmaceutical manufacturing facility in Kansas City, Mo., leading to the manufacture of more than $40 million worth of methamphetamine.

The three-year investigation began in February 2007, following the theft of a 50-kilogram (110 pounds) drum of pharmaceutical pseudoephedrine powder taken during an armed robbery and kidnapping at the facility on Super Bowl Sunday. In addition to the armed robbery, investigators learned that at least 1,000 pounds of pseudoephedrine waste material had also been diverted from the facility over an approximately 10-year period of time, which would have led to the manufacture of more than $40 million worth of methamphetamine.

Garland Duane Hankins, 43, of Oak Grove, Mo., was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Scott O. Wright to 15 years in federal prison without parole. The court also ordered Hankins to forfeit to the government approximately $92,000 that was seized at the time of his arrest, approximately $44,800 that was seized from bank accounts, and his residence.

On Jan. 20, 2010, Hankins pleaded guilty to participating in a conspiracy to manufacture and distribute methamphetamine. He also pleaded guilty to participating in a conspiracy to possess pseudoephedrine with the intent to manufacture methamphetamine. Hankins admitted that he stole pseudoephedrine waste material from Sanofi-Aventis. Hankins and others have admitted to selling the pseudoephedrine for $3,000 to $10,000 per pound.

Sanofi-Aventis manufactures the allergy medication Allegra-D which contains pseudoephedrine, a key ingredient in the illicit manufacture of methamphetamine. The manufacturing process at Sanofi-Aventis generates waste material which is still pharmaceutical grade pseudoephedrine powder, but is unusable for pharmaceutical production. Heritage Environmental Services, a Kansas City, Mo., business, was contracted by Sanofi-Aventis to remove and dispose of the waste material. For approximately 12 years, Hankins worked at Heritage and was the primary contractor responsible for removing pseudoephedrine waste from the Sanofi-Aventis facility.

Hankins admitted that approximately 1,000 pounds of pseudoephedrine was bought and sold during the conspiracy. That 1,000 pounds of the raw pharmaceutical grade pseudoephedrine diverted from Sanofi-Aventis had an estimated street value of more than $7 million. That amount of pseudoephedrine could have been used to manufacture more than $40 million worth of methamphetamine. (The 1,000 pounds of pseudoephedrine could create 920 pounds of pure methamphetamine, which sells on the street for $2,800 an ounce, a total of $41,216,000).

In addition to Hankins, six co-defendants have been sentenced after pleading guilty. Harley William Harvey, Jr., 42, of Blue Springs, Mo., was sentenced to 15 years in federal prison without parole. Robert Bruce Jameson, 48, of Kansas City, Mo., was sentenced to 10 years and 10 months in federal prison without parole. Kristi L. Stephenson, 38, of Kansas City, Mo., was sentenced to eight years in federal prison without parole. Blake William Folsom, 43, of Raytown, Mo. was sentenced to seven years and 10 months in federal prison without parole. Gina Louise Vigliaturo, 32, of Independence, Mo., was sentenced to five years in federal prison without parole. Hankins’ ex-wife, Julie Ann Torneden, 46, of Lone Jack, Mo., was sentenced to one year and one day in federal prison without parole, followed by three years of supervised release. Mindy Lynn Morris, 32, of Platte City, Mo., was sentenced to probation.

Three co-defendants have pleaded guilty and await sentencing. Stacey Marie Walker, 39, of Blue Springs, Mo., Ryan Edward Breit, 33, of Peculiar, Mo.,and Timothy Jay Greathouse, 41, of Kansas City, Mo., have pleaded guilty to charges contained in a May 19, 2009, federal indictment.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Bruce Rhoades. It was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Kansas Bureau of Investigation.

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