News and Press Releases

independence man sentenced to 20 years for meth conspiracy
resulting in woman's death

April 17, 2012

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – David M. Ketchmark, Acting United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced today that an Independence, Mo., man has been sentenced in federal court for his role in a conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine, which resulted in the death of an Independence woman who ingested multiple baggies of methamphetamine when she was arrested by law enforcement officers.

Nickalus Erik Peterson, 29, of Independence, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Ortrie D. Smith on Monday, April 16, 2012, to 20 years in federal prison without parole.

On Dec. 16, 2011, Peterson pleaded guilty to participating in a conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine and to a money-laundering conspiracy. Peterson also pleaded guilty to a separate indictment that charges him with illegally possessing a firearm.

Miranda McClintock of Independence died on Feb. 3, 2007, as the result of ingesting a large amount of methamphetamine in baggies following a traffic stop in Johnson County, Mo. Peterson was McClintock’s source for methamphetamine. McClintock was arrested near Warrensburg, Mo., on a traffic violation and transported to jail. While at the jail, McClintock developed a medical emergency and was transported to a hospital, where she died soon afterward. An autopsy determined McClintock died from methamphetamine toxicity as a result of ingesting multiple baggies of methamphetamine.

Co-defendant Billy B. Garrison, 40, of Independence, pleaded guilty to his role in the drug-trafficking conspiracy and awaits sentencing. Co-defendants James George Cates, 28 of Liberty and Heather Marie Burkhart, 33, of Independence, also pleaded guilty to their roles in the conspiracy and have been sentenced.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Bruce Rhoades. It was investigated by the Johnson County, Mo., Sheriff’s Department, the Independence, Mo., Police Department, the Kansas City, Mo., Police Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

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