jury convicts nixa, springfield men of cocaine conspiracy,
defendants face life in prison
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – David M. Ketchmark, Acting United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that a Nixa, Mo., man and a Springfield, Mo., man were convicted in federal court today of participating in a conspiracy to distribute large amounts of cocaine and crack cocaine in the Springfield area.
Carlous S. Horton, 36, of Nixa, and Christopher Holmes, 26, of Springfield, were found guilty of participating in a conspiracy to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine, and to manufacture and distribute crack cocaine, from January 1, 2010 to March 14, 2011.
Horton was the leader of a drug-trafficking organization that imported multi-kilogram shipments of cocaine from Chicago, Ill., and/or Dallas, Texas, on a monthly basis. The shipments, averaging two kilograms per trip, were transported to Springfield by vehicles, commercial bus lines and commercial airlines. Once the cocaine arrived in Springfield, the organization processed it and distributed it as either cocaine or crack cocaine. Holmes was Horton’s main distributor.
Following the presentation of evidence over five days, the jury in the U.S. District Court in Springfield deliberated for about an hour before returning the guilty verdicts to U.S. District Judge Richard E. Dorr, ending a trial that began Monday, April 23, 2012.
Co-defendants Steven Quan, 23, Nicole E. Keeland-Canady, 39, Helen Vernor, 24, Demarius D. Marshall, 30, Ryan D. Roepke, 33, Antonio G. Davis, 29, Mark A. Robinson, 26, Cleveland D. Larmore, 24, and Tony A. Cloke, 26, all of Springfield, Sean M. McManmie, 36, of Nixa, and Kristopher W. Farmer, 25, of Lebanon, Mo., earlier pleaded guilty to the charges contained in a July 20, 2011, superseding indictment.
In addition to the drug-trafficking conspiracy, Horton was found guilty of participating in a money-laundering conspiracy. Horton was also convicted of seven counts of distributing cocaine, one count of distributing crack cocaine, one count of possessing cocaine with the intent to manufacture crack cocaine, one count of possessing cocaine with the intent to distribute, four counts of money laundering and one count of being a felon in possession of firearms. Horton, who has a prior felony conviction, was in possession of an FFG 9mm handgun, a Luger 9mm handgun, and an SCCY Industries 9mm handgun.
Holmes was also found guilty of one count of possessing cocaine with the intent to distribute and one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm. Holmes, who has a prior felony conviction, was in possession of a Smith & Wesson .38-caliber handgun.
Under federal statutes, Horton and Holmes are each subject to a mandatory sentence of life in federal prison without parole. Sentencing hearings will be scheduled after the completion of presentence investigations by the United States Probation Office.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Gary Milligan and Timothy A. Garrison. It was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Missouri State Highway Patrol, the Springfield, Mo., Police Department and IRS-Criminal Investigation.