27 Defendants Indicted for Drug-trafficking, Prostitution Conspiracies, Illegal Firearms
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Tammy Dickinson, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced today that 15 Columbia, Mo., residents are among 27 defendants who have been indicted by a federal grand jury for their roles in a large-scale conspiracy to distribute cocaine and crack cocaine in Boone County, Mo., and a conspiracy to promote prostitution in Boone County.
“This federal indictment dismantles a major drug-trafficking organization in Columbia,” Dickinson said. “Today’s operation not only disrupts the flow of cocaine and crack cocaine in the Columbia area, but reduces the level of violence, the number of guns on the street and the prevalence of other crimes associated with illegal drugs. Thanks to the diligent work of our law enforcement partners, Columbia’s neighborhoods and all of the communities involved now will be safer.”
“This case is an example of how ATF is working with our law enforcement partners to target the worst of the worst violent criminals in Columbia and throughout Central Missouri, to bring about safer communities for the citizens that live and work here,” said Gregory Gant, Special Agent in Charge of the Kansas City Field Division, ATF. “We will continue to investigate violent armed criminals who tear at the fabric of our neighborhoods and cities.”
Kenneth Scott, Sr., 46, Dion Antonio Vaughn, 38, and James Thomas Pittman, 41, all of Fulton, Mo.; Malcolm Desean Redmon, 31, Marlon Dion Jordan, 34, Marcus Dion Jordan, 39, Carl Douglass Simon, 27, Rodney Wayne Arnold, 30, Teka Lynn Hayes, 50, Courtney Lashea Thornton, 33, Gregory Vincent Dawson, 38, William Alexander Hill, 29, Travis Dewayne Dennis, 32, Devon Cortez Hopkins, 28, Paydrom Lee Summers, 39, Michael Earl Hunt, Jr., 33, Christin Sledd, 24, and Ryan Montez Kee, 24, all of Columbia, Mo.; Vershawn Dejuan Edwards, 22, of Jefferson City, Mo.; Tyrone Dewayne Jackson, 35, of Boonville, Mo.; Ronald Elwood Brown, 40, of Sturgeon, Mo.; Ronnie Lee Gillette, 53, of Kingdom City, Mo.; Ryan D. Wright, 38, and Courtnie Lea Goins, 25, both of Springfield, Mo.; Marlon Laron Smith, 34, of Murphysboro, Ill.; and Guillermo Ortiz Perez, 24, address unknown, were charged in a 56-count indictment returned under seal by a federal grand jury in Jefferson City on Nov. 5, 2014. That indictment was unsealed and made public today following the arrests of several defendants.
The indictment replaces a federal criminal complaint that was filed against Scott on Aug. 6, 2014. Scott has been in federal custody since his arrest on Aug. 5, 2014. Federal, state and local law enforcement agencies arrested a number of defendants in a law enforcement sweep today. Seven defendants are already in state or federal custody. The government will seek to detain nine of the defendants in federal custody without bond.
According to court documents, Sledd, a former employee of the Boone County Clerk’s Office, assisted in leaking information to targets of the investigation regarding at least one search warrant.
“When this came to light,” Dickinson said, “Circuit Clerk Christy Blakemore cooperated fully with the federal investigators to identify the lone employee involved, to contain any damage and immediately put new procedures in place to protect the integrity of the court system.”
Sledd had access to sensitive information as a part of her job, according to a detention motion filed today. She learned of an impending search warrant on Aug. 1, 2014, according to the government’s motion, and passed the information to Kee (the father of her child). Kee then passed on the information to other criminal conspirators, including Redmon. If the leak had not been detected, the motion says, law enforcement officers and/or others could have been injured or killed executing the search warrant.
Sledd, Kee and Redmon are charged together in the federal indictment with two counts of using a telephone to facilitate the commission of the drug-trafficking conspiracy.
The federal indictment alleges that all of the defendants, with the exception of Goins, participated in a conspiracy to distribute cocaine and crack cocaine in Boone County, Mo., from Jan. 2 to Aug. 6, 2014. According to the indictment, the conduct of Scott, Redmon, Perez, Jordan, Hayes and Vaughn as member of the conspiracy involved at least five kilograms of cocaine. The indictment alleges that the conduct of other co-defendants in the conspiracy involved various lesser amounts of cocaine and crack cocaine.
In addition to the drug-trafficking conspiracy, the indictment also charges various defendants in 24 counts of possessing crack cocaine with the intent to distribute, five counts of possessing cocaine with the intent to distribute, two counts of maintaining premises at two Columbia locations for the purpose of unlawfully storing cocaine and crack cocaine and 19 counts of using a telephone to facilitate the drug-trafficking conspiracy.
Redmon, Wright and Goins are charged with participating in a conspiracy to use telephones to promote an unlawful activity – prostitution – in Boone County from June to August 2014.
According to the indictment, Redmon established a separate prostitution business, in addition to his drug-trafficking business, in order to diversify his unlawful efforts. Wright allegedly taught Redmon how to conduct the prostitution business and assisted him in several ways, including lending him the services of Goins. In return for his help, the indictment says, Redmon sold Wright cocaine and taught him how to be successful in the illegal distribution of narcotics.
Redmon allegedly supplied Goins with a room from which to work as a prostitute and allegedly provided her with protection and cocaine while she was working for him. Conspirators used telephones to communicate between themselves about the prostitution business, including assignments, payment and customers. Phones were also used to attempt to recruit additional persons to serve as prostitutes.
In addition to the conspiracy, Redmon and Wright are charged together in one count of using telephones to promote prostitution. Redmon and Goins are also charged together in one count of using telephones to promote prostitution.
Scott and Jordan are each charged with being a felon in possession of firearms. Under federal law, it is illegal for anyone who has been convicted of a felony to possess any firearm or ammunition.
Scott allegedly possessed a Smith & Wesson .40-caliber pistol with a serial number that had been ground off, a Kel-Tec .380-caliber pistol and a Phoneix Arms .22-caliber pistol on Aug. 5, 2014. Scott has prior felony convictions for delivery of a controlled substance, drug trafficking and possessing a controlled substance in a correctional facility.
Jordan allegedly possessed a Jennings .22-caliber pistol and a Phoenix Arms Company .25-caliber pistol on Aug. 5, 2014. Jordan has prior felony convictions for burglary, drug trafficking, possession of a controlled substance and illegally possessing a firearm.
Dickinson 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 Anthony P. Gonzalez. It was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, IRS-Criminal Investigation, the Columbia, Mo., Police Department, the Boone County, Mo., Sheriff’s Department, the U.S. Marshal’s Service, MUSTANG (the Mid-Missouri Unified Strike Team and Narcotics Group), the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Boone County, Mo., Prosecuting Attorney’s Office.