News and Press Releases

guardian of justice award

kC police detectives honored for
Drug-trafficking investigation

USDA agent honored for
cargo theft investigation

August 20, 2014

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Tammy Dickinson, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced today that two Kansas City, Mo., police detectives and an agent with the U.S. Department of Agriculture have received the Guardian of Justice Award.

Kansas City Police Department Detectives Josh Davis and James Svoboda and USDA Special Agent David Colegrove were honored on Thursday, Aug. 14, 2014, during the 12th Annual LECC Training Seminar in Springfield, Mo.

Josh Davis & James Svoboda

Davis and Svoboda were recognized for their investigative excellence, selfless collaboration, tireless trial support, commendable diligence and professionalism, and noteworthy assistance in the successful prosecution of a dozen defendants involved in a 10-year long drug-trafficking conspiracy that resulted in the death of one individual and the distribution of more than three kilograms of heroin in the Kansas City area.

The lead defendant, Timothy M. Kirlin, also known as “Jim Curlon,” 34, of Kansas City, was found guilty at trial of all nine counts contained in an Oct. 16, 2013, federal indictment. Kirlin was found guilty of participating in a conspiracy to distribute 1,000 grams or more of heroin, as well as cocaine, from Jan. 1, 2002, to Feb. 3, 2012.

On March 5, 2002, Kirlin distributed heroin to Joshua Webb, and the use of this heroin by Webb resulted in his death.

Kirlin traveled to Dallas, Texas, at least once a month to purchase heroin and other drugs for resale in the Kansas City area. The usual amount that Kirlin would purchase in Dallas was four ounces of heroin, although he bought more on occasion. He sometimes transported the heroin back to Kansas City by hiding it in his rectum. Because Kirlin had been shot in the head, he was unable to drive himself, and would ride the bus to Texas and frequently enlist the aid of others in the conspiracy to drive him from place to place.

In addition to the conspiracy, Kirlin was found guilty of being a felon in possession of explosives. Kirlin, who has two prior felony convictions for possession of a controlled substance, was in possession of four sticks of explosives (along with manuals on how to build explosive devices) on Feb. 2, 2012. Kirlin was also convicted of six counts of distributing heroin and one count of possessing heroin with the intent to distribute.

Kirlin, who has not yet been sentenced, is subject to a mandatory sentence of life in federal prison without parole. One co-defendant was convicted with Kirlin at trial and 10 co-defendants pleaded guilty.

David Colegrove

Colegrove was recognized for his investigative excellence, selfless collaboration, tireless trial support, commendable diligence and professionalism, and noteworthy assistance in the successful prosecution of eight defendants involved in a scheme to steal nearly $1 million worth of trucks and trailers and their cargo in a multi-state area.

The lead defendant, Kenneth Ray Borders, 43, of Kansas City, Mo., and two co-conspirators were found guilty at trial of participating in a conspiracy that involved the theft of commercial trucks and trailers and their cargo in Missouri, Kansas, Florida, Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Nebraska. They worked together to steal trucks, trailers, and cargo and then dispose of them. Sometimes they used the trucks and trailers themselves to make money by hauling loads for customers and sometimes they sold the stolen trucks and trailers.

The conspiracy involved the thefts of five Freightliner trucks and 17 trailers between 2005 and 2011. The stolen trailers included refrigerated trailers containing such cargo as 39,000 pounds of meat, 565 boxes of beef valued at $149,790, $125,000 worth of frozen ribs, and several refrigerated trailers that each contained tens of thousands of dollars’ worth of frozen chicken, including a load of frozen chicken wings valued at $59,706. Also stolen were utility trailers containing such cargo as Budweiser beer valued at $16,657, Nike shoes valued at $217,353 and 21,018 pounds of Little Sizzler sausages.

Stolen cargo was sold cheaply to anyone who would buy it. Some of the cargo was sold out of the back of the trailer; some of it was sold to a tow truck driver or a convenience store operator to resell.

Jon Dirk Dickerson, 56, of Raytown, Mo., and his son, Kyle Wayne Dickerson, 31, of Holden, Mo, were also convicted at trial. The Dickersons used the stolen trucks and trailers in their own trucking business, sometimes just for replacement parts with the remains sold for scrap. Since they had little financial investment in the stolen trucks and trailers, and knew that they had a readily-available and cheap supply of stolen trucks and trailers, they had little incentive to maintain and repair their fleet. As a result, their fleet wore out and had safety issues, such as problems with brakes and tires. When their fleet wore out, they simply replaced them with more stolen trucks and trailers. The Dickersons did not bother to maintain and repair their trucks and trailers but continued to operate them in interstate commerce. As a result, DOT/FMCSA and other law enforcement repeatedly cited their company and drivers for failing inspections and violating regulations. The company's compliance reviews led to unsatisfactory safety ratings which led to a total of $450,000 in fines and numerous “out of service orders” directing them to cease operating in interstate commerce. The Dickersons just ignored the orders and the fines.

Three additional co-defendants pleaded guilty to receiving stolen goods and two additional defendants pleaded guilty in separate, but related, cases to their roles in the conspiracy.

Guardian of Justice Award

The annual Guardian of Justice Award recognizes a state or local officer as well as a federal agent for investigative excellence, selfless collaboration, tireless trial support, commendable diligence and professionalism, and noteworthy assistance to prosecution. The prestigious law enforcement award is presented by the U.S. Attorney’s Office each year during the law enforcement training conference.

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