Jury Convicts Easton Man of Meth, Money Laundering Conspiracies
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Tammy Dickinson, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that an Easton, Mo., man was found guilty by a federal trial jury today of participating in a conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine in the St. Joseph, Mo., area and a conspiracy to commit money laundering.
Jeffrey Ray Pendleton, also known as “Fro,” 34, of Easton, was found guilty of participating in a conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine and participating in a money-laundering conspiracy.
Evidence introduced during the trial indicated that Pendleton was involved in the conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine in the St. Joseph area from Jan. 1, 2009, to July 19, 2012. During the same time, Pendleton conspired with others to engage in financial transactions with the proceeds of the drug-trafficking conspiracy.
Pendleton was arrested by the Kansas Highway Patrol on April 30, 2010, after a high speed vehicle pursuit in Lenexa, Kan. Pendleton fled from troopers and local officers until his vehicle became disabled, then ran on foot before being taken into custody. Following his arrest, troopers recovered six different prescription narcotic pills, a digital scale, methamphetamine, syringes and approximately $5,000. Pendleton was arrested again on Jan. 19, 2011, after a short vehicle pursuit by Lenexa, Kan., police officers. During the pursuit, Pendleton tossed a white object out the window that was later determined to be methamphetamine.
A former girlfriend of Pendleton and other cooperating defendants told investigators that Pendleton possessed methamphetamine every two to three days during late 2009 and 2010. Two traveled with Pendleton when he went to Kansas City, Kan., to pick up $10,000 worth of methamphetamine, which he brought back with them to St. Joseph for distribution.
Other individuals also told investigators they had witnessed Pendleton in possession of methamphetamine on numerous occasions. They stated they saw Pendleton with “softball”-size and fist-size bags of methamphetamine. One of the cooperating individuals told investigators that Pendleton was in possession of a large plastic bag, which contained three pounds of methamphetamine.
A cooperating individual told investigators that Pendleton orchestrated the beating of a girl in the basement of a St. Joseph residence over a drug debt. The victim of the beating sought medical attention at a hospital emergency room. Pendleton forced the beating victim to pose for cell phone photos with a hypodermic needle in her arm, and told her that if she reported the beating he would send the photos to family services and the victim would lose custody of her children.
Following the presentation of evidence, the jury in the U.S. District Court in Kansas City, Mo., deliberated for about 90 minutes before returning the verdicts to U.S. District Judge Gary A. Fenner, ending a trial that began Tuesday, Dec. 9, 2014.
Under federal statutes, Pendleton is subject to a mandatory minimum sentence 10 years in federal prison without parole, up to a sentence of life in federal prison without parole, plus a fine up to $10.5 million. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the completion of a presentence investigation by the United States Probation Office.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Bruce Rhoades. It was investigated by the Buchanan County Drug Strike Force, the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Clay County Drug Task Force.