News and Press Releases

Five joplin residents indicted in heroin conspiracy
that resulted in death

January 27, 2012

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. - Beth Phillips, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced today that five Joplin, Mo., residents have been indicted for their roles in a conspiracy to distribute heroin, which resulted in the death of a 26-year-old Joplin man.

Lavar D. Beard, also known as “Dough” or “Doughboy,” 33, Ashley Henson, 24, Jason E. Hirshey, 31, Haley J. Ferguson, 26, and her husband, Brian D. Ferguson, 26, all of Joplin, were charged in a nine-count indictment that was returned under seal by a federal grand jury in Springfield, Mo., on Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2012. That indictment has been unsealed and made public upon the arrests and initial court appearances of several defendants.

The federal indictment alleges that all five defendants participated in a conspiracy to distribute 100 grams or more of heroin in Jasper County, Mo., from June 2011 to Sept. 20, 2011.

In addition to the conspiracy, Beard is charged with five counts of distributing heroin and one count of possessing heroin with the intent to distribute. The use of this heroin allegedly resulted in the death of Ryan Cockrell of Joplin on Aug. 19, 2011.

Beard is also charged with being a felon in possession of firearms. According to the indictment, Beard, who has been convicted of a felony, was in possession of a Ruger .357-caliber revolver, a Raven Arms .25-caliber pistol and ammunition. Under federal law, it is illegal for anyone who has been convicted of a felony to be in possession of any firearm or ammunition.

Henson is also charged with one count of distributing heroin.

Phillips cautioned that the charges contained in this indictment are simply accusations, and not evidence of guilt. Evidence supporting the charges 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 David P. Rush. It was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Jasper County Drug Task Force, the Joplin, Mo., Police Department, the Webb City, Mo., Police Department, the Carthage, Mo., Police Department, and the Jasper County, Mo. Sheriff’s Department.

Grand Jury Indictment pdf document

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