Battlefield Man Sentenced for Distributing Tons of Marijuana
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Tammy Dickinson, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that a Battlefield, Mo., man was sentenced in federal court today for his role in a conspiracy that distributed thousands of pounds of marijuana in southwest Missouri.
Jorge Torres, Jr., 31, of Battlefield, Mo., was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Stephen R. Bough to seven years in federal prison without parole.
On Feb. 10, 2015, Torres pleaded guilty to participating in a conspiracy to distribute marijuana in Greene County, Mo., and elsewhere from April 1, 2010, to June 19, 2013. Co-defendants Sean Bond, 39, of Republic, Mo., and Brian D. Hanson, 30, and Brenda Swearingin, 57, both of Springfield, Mo., also pleaded guilty to their roles in the drug-trafficking conspiracy.
Torres admitted that he distributed a total of approximately 120 pounds (54.36 kilograms) of marijuana, which he obtained from Bond, to Jordan Hitchcock, 22, of Springfield. Hitchcock has pleaded guilty in a separate but related case and awaits sentencing. Hitchcock paid Torres $650 to $750 per pound of marijuana. Hitchcock would then distribute the marijuana he obtained from Torres to others. Torres made approximately $50 per pound of marijuana sold.
Bond, Hanson and Swearingin were each sentenced on Tuesday, July 28, 2015.
Bond, who was sentenced to 12 years in federal prison without parole, arranged for Hanson and others to pick up marijuana from individuals outside of Springfield, then transported the marijuana to Springfield for Bond to distribute to other persons. Bond and Hanson also traveled together to Texas to obtain marijuana that had been smuggled into the United States from Mexico.
Hanson, who was sentenced to one year and one day in prison, admitted that he was responsible for transporting between 1,000 kilograms and 3,000 kilograms of marijuana into southwest Missouri.
Swearingin, who was sentenced to five years of probation, also pleaded guilty to illegally possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug-trafficking crime. Swearingin admitted that she purchased pound amounts of marijuana from Bond each month for about two years and distributed it to others. She received approximately 10.872 kilograms of marijuana from Bond during her involvement in the conspiracy. When law enforcement officers executed a search warrant at Swearingin’s residence, they discovered a Hefty Freezer bag that contained approximately 173 grams of marijuana under a mattress in the guest bedroom. They also found a loaded Taurus .22-caliber handgun in Swearingin’s purse.
In addition to the drug-trafficking conspiracy, Bond and Hanson each pleaded guilty to participating in a conspiracy to launder the proceeds of marijuana sales. For example, Hanson gave Bond a 2002 BMW 745i and a 1969 Chevrolet Chevelle to pay a drug debt. Hanson purchased a 2003 Ford Crown Victoria at an auto auction, using proceeds from the sale of marijuana. Hanson then used this vehicle to transport marijuana from Houston and Kansas City, Mo., to Springfield.
Bond also admitted that he purchased a Wellcraft 3200 Martinique boat (which he registered in his father’s name), in part with drug proceeds, and a 2007 Cadillac Escalade that he used to distribute marijuana to customers in the Springfield area. Bond also used drug proceeds to purchase a 2002 BMW 725i, a 2002 Firebird pro-mod race car, a 1968 Chevrolet Camaro, three go karts, a 2006 Haulmark trailer and a 2004 Ford F350. That property has been seized by law enforcement officers and is subject to be forfeited to the government.
This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Randall D. Eggert. It was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration, IRS-Criminal Investigation, the Missouri State Highway Patrol, the Springfield, Mo., Police Department and COMET (the Combined Ozark Multi-jurisdictional Enforcement Team).