OFFICE OF THE UNITED STATES ATTORNEY
WESTERN DISTRICT OF MISSOURI
Contact Don Ledford, Public Affairs ● (816) 426-4220 ● 400 East Ninth Street, Room 5510 ● Kansas City, MO 64106
FEBRUARY 2, 2010
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
TWO KC MEN SENTENCED FOR STEALING ATF MONEY
INSTEAD OF SELLING GUN, DEFENDANTS USED IT
TO ROB CONFIDENTIAL INFORMANT
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Beth Phillips, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that two Kansas City, Mo., men were sentenced in federal court today for stealing funds that were supposed to be used by a confidential informant to purchase a firearm in an undercover law enforcement operation. Instead of selling the firearm to the confidential informant, the defendants used the handgun to rob the informant.
Johnny L. Bell, 28, and Leron L. Morris, 24, both of Kansas City, were sentenced in separate appearances before U.S. District Judge Dean Whipple. Bell was sentenced to five years and 10 months in federal prison without parole. Morris was sentenced to three years and four months in federal prison without parole.
On July 13, 2009, Morris and Bell each pleaded guilty to stealing $225 from a confidential informant.
According to an affidavit filed in support of the original criminal complaint, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives provided the confidential informant with $225 of pre-recorded buy money for the purchase of a chrome-plated .38-caliber handgun. At Bell’s direction, an undercover police officer drove both the informant and Bell to meet Morris in order to purchase the firearm from him on Jan. 12, 2009. The informant and Bell got into Morris’ vehicle while the undercover officer waited nearby.
However, the affidavit says, when Morris displayed the firearm, he 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.
This case was 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