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Press Release

Jury Convicts KC Man of Meth, Marijuana

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of Missouri

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Tom Larson, Acting United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that a Kansas City, Mo., man was convicted by a federal trial jury today of possessing methamphetamine to distribute and possessing marijuana.

Christopher J. Kessler, 29, of Kansas City, was found guilty of one count of possessing 50 grams or more of methamphetamine with the intent to distribute and one count of possessing marijuana.

Kessler was arrested on March 5, 2016, following a high-speed vehicle pursuit and foot chase by Independence and Kansas City, Mo., police officers. At about 12:37 a.m., an Independence officer attempted to stop a Ford Explorer driven by Kessler, which was traveling at a high rate of speed and made an abrupt turn without signaling. When Kessler pulled over, the officer was notified that the license plate on his vehicle belonged to another vehicle that had been reported as stolen. The officer, using his exterior speaker, twice ordered Kessler to place the vehicle in park. Instead, Kessler rapidly accelerated. The officer pursued Kessler, who reached a speed of 105 miles per hour, at times driving in the opposite lanes of traffic without his vehicle lights on.

Police officers called off the pursuit but helicopter surveillance observed Kessler enter a hotel. Kessler led officers on a pursuit through the hotel and back out to the street. An officer eventually tackled Kessler to the ground; he continued to resist officers by placing his hands around and under his face. Kessler bit one of the officers in the finger and wrist, breaking the skin. Additional officers assisted in securing Kessler in handcuffs.

Officers searched Kessler and found a clear plastic baggie that contained at least 50.9 grams of pure methamphetamine in his right front pocket, as well as a smaller clear plastic baggie that contained seven grams of marijuana.
Following the presentation of evidence, the jury in the U.S. District Court in Kansas City, Mo., deliberated for about two hours before returning the guilty verdicts to U.S. District Judge Roseann Ketchmark, ending a trial that began Monday, Sept. 25, 2017.

Under federal statutes, Kessler is subject to a mandatory minimum sentence of 20 years in federal prison without parole, up to a sentence of life in federal prison without parole. The maximum statutory sentence is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes, as the sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the court based on the advisory sentencing guidelines and other statutory factors. 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. Attorneys Emily A. Morgan and Patrick Edwards. It was investigated by the Independence, Mo., Police Department and the Kansas City, Mo., Police Department.

Updated September 27, 2017

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