Jury Convicts Springfield Man of $1 Million Meth Conspiracy
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – A Springfield, Mo., man was convicted by a federal trial jury today of his role in a conspiracy to distribute more than $1 million worth of methamphetamine in southern Missouri and in the Kansas City, Mo., area.
Michael Ryan Nevatt, 28, of Springfield, was found guilty of all seven counts contained in a Nov. 17, 2016, federal indictment. Nevatt was found guilty of conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine, conspiracy to possess firearms in furtherance of drug trafficking, possessing firearms in furtherance of drug trafficking, conspiracy to commit money laundering, and three counts of money laundering.
Evidence introduced during the trial indicated that Nevatt participated in a conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine from Jan. 1, 2014, to Nov. 17, 2016. Co-defendant Kenneth Lake, 56, of Strafford, Mo., was the original head of the organization, coordinating vehicle transport shipments of methamphetamine from a Mexican cartel source in Texas to Springfield. Conspirators in Springfield divided the methamphetamine for distribution to the Lebanon, Mo., and Kansas City, Mo., areas. Lake has pleaded guilty to his role in the drug-trafficking conspiracy.
Nevatt subsequently became the head of the organization. Nevatt and other conspirators made regular trips, and sometimes travelled several times a week, to pick up multiple-pound supplies of methamphetamine. For example, Nevatt traveled to Texas regularly to pick up 10 pounds of methamphetamine and bring it back to Springfield. Nevatt would later return to Texas with approximately $100,000 in cash to pay for it. On one occasion, Nevatt met sources in Dallas, Texas, to purchase 40 pounds of methamphetamine. Mexican sources also delivered multiple-pound shipments of methamphetamine by truck or car to Springfield.
Nevatt was stopped by Springfield police officers on one occasion while operating a motorcycle without a valid motorcycle endorsement or insurance. Officers seized $66,960 in the saddle bag of the motorcycle. On another occasion, Springfield police officers seized $97,390 from a hotel room rented in Nevatt’s name, which was occupied by his girlfriend and Lake.
Nevatt is among 15 defendants charged in the indictment; 13 have pleaded guilty and one has been sentenced.
Following the presentation of evidence, the jury in the U.S. District Court in Kansas City, Mo., deliberated for just short of three hours before returning the guilty verdicts to U.S. Chief District Judge Greg Kays, ending a trial that began Monday, April 2, 2018.
Under federal statutes, Nevatt is subject to a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 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. Attorney Bruce Rhoades and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Ashleigh Ragner. It was investigated by the Buchanan County Drug Strike Force, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Internal Revenue Service, the Buchanan County, Mo., Sheriff’s Department, the Springfield, Mo., Police Department, the Missouri State Highway Patrol, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and the Central Oklahoma Metro Interdiction Team.