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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of Missouri

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Joplin Man Sentenced to 24 Years for Meth Conspiracy, Illegal Firearms

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – A Joplin, Missouri, man was sentenced in federal court today for his role in a drug-trafficking conspiracy that distributed at least 12 pounds of methamphetamine in the Joplin area, as well as for illegally possessing numerous firearms and thousands of rounds of ammunition.

Mark E. Burdge, 50, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Stephen R. Bough to 24 years and eight months in federal prison without parole. The court also ordered Burdge to forfeit to the government $44,850 seized by law enforcement as the proceeds of drug trafficking.

On Nov. 3, 2020, Burdge pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine, one count of possessing firearms in furtherance of a drug-trafficking crime, and one count of distributing methamphetamine on premises where children are present or reside. 

Burdge admitted that he participated in a conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine from May 9, 2018, to July 18, 2019. Burdge imported at least 12 pounds (approximately 5.4 kilograms) of methamphetamine into southwest Missouri from a source in Oklahoma.

On May 9, 2018, investigators with the Ozarks Drug Enforcement Team executed a search warrant at Burdge’s residence. Officers seized a total of 71.96 grams of methamphetamine and approximately $20,550 from a bedroom in the residence. Officers also searched an outbuilding and seized six rifles, five shotguns, four pistols, a revolver, a .22-caliber Magnum derringer, and 4,000 rounds of assorted ammunition.

On July 18, 2019, investigators again executed a search warrant at Burdge’s residence, where they encountered a 10-year-old child among a number of individuals at the residence. Officers seized a total of 159.66 grams of methamphetamine and $24,300.

According to court documents, Burdge’s serious criminal history began when he was 29 when he was arrested with methamphetamine and marijuana in 1999. Felony convictions since then have included three convictions for possession of a controlled substance, as well as felony convictions for unlawful possession of a firearm and receiving stolen property.

This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Josephine L. Stockard and Byron Black. It was investigated by the Ozarks Drug Enforcement Team, the FBI, and the Bureau of Alcohol., Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. 

OCDETF
This case is part of the Department of Justice’s Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) program.  The OCDETF program is the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s drug supply reduction strategy.  OCDETF was established in 1982 to conduct comprehensive, multilevel attacks on major drug trafficking and money laundering organizations.  Today, OCDETF combines the resources and expertise of its member federal agencies in cooperation with state and local law enforcement.  The principal mission of the OCDETF program is to identify, disrupt, and dismantle the most serious drug trafficking organizations, transnational criminal organizations, and money laundering organizations that present a significant threat to the public safety, economic, or national security of the United States.

Topic(s): 
Drug Trafficking
Firearms Offenses
Updated March 24, 2021