News and Press Releases

springfield man sentenced to life in prison for drug trafficking

'X family' leaders recruited women, teens to sell drugs

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 4, 2010

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Beth Phillips, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that a Springfield, Mo., man was sentenced in federal court today for his role in leading a drug-trafficking conspiracy. The defendant, who recruited young women and teenage girls as part of what he called the “X family,” distributed heroin, cocaine, crack cocaine and marijuana in the Springfield area.

Claude X, 51, of Springfield, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Richard E. Dorr to life plus five years in federal prison without parole. His prior drug-trafficking convictions qualified X for a mandatory life sentence, with a consecutive mandatory five-year sentence for illegally possessing a firearm.

On July 15, 2010, X was convicted at trial of conspiracy to distribute heroin, cocaine, crack cocaine and marijuana in Greene County, Mo., from Jan. 9, 2007, to Oct. 29, 2008. In addition to the conspiracy, X was found guilty of nine counts related to distributing drugs and two counts related to illegally possessing a firearm.

Co-defendants Christina X, 23 (no relation to Claude X), and Aarika McKenzie Tracy, 30, have pleaded guilty to their roles in the conspiracy. Tracy was sentenced on June 17, 2010, to four years in federal prison without parole. Christina X, who has yet to be sentenced, faces a mandatory minimum penalty of 10 years in federal prison without parole, up to a sentence of life in federal prison without parole.

Evidence presented during the trial indicated that Claude X was the leader of an organization that earned hundreds of thousands of dollars distributing illegal drugs in the Springfield area.

Claude X recruited several young women and teenage girls, whom he manipulated and trained to sell drugs. Claude X referred to himself and these females as the “X family,” and both he and Christina X legally changed their names to X. After he was arrested, Claude X told Tracy in a recorded phone call from the Greene County Jail that she had finally earned the right to change her name to X as well, but that didn't happen before she was arrested. Claude X stamped his ownership on most of these females with large tattoos that incorporated the letter X and/or nicknames he gave them.

Evidence was presented during the trial that Claude X maintained at least four apartments in Springfield and a house in Nixa, which were used to house the females he recruited. During a 10-month period from 2007-2008, Claude X also rented 116 nights at the Drury Inn & Suites in Springfield, where he spent over $10,000. The girls, including two who were teenagers and wards of the state, living in a regional girls shelter, testified that Claude X brought them to the Drury Inn for several days before moving them into an apartment from where they would sell his drugs.

Conspirators used safety deposit boxes at a Springfield bank to store the illegal drugs and the proceeds of the drug-trafficking conspiracy. They also purchased certificates of deposit with drug-trafficking profits.

Claude X was convicted of using a firearm during the drug-trafficking crimes and of being a felon in possession of a firearm. On June 13, 2008, Claude X was in possession of a Hi Point .380-caliber pistol.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Tim Garrison. It was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Drug Enforcement Administration, IRS-Criminal Investigation and the Springfield, Mo., Police Department.

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