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Press Release

Nevada Woman Sentenced for Taking 'Food Stamps' for Meth, Cash

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

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Tom Larson, Acting United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that a Nevada, Mo., woman was sentenced in federal court today for her role in a conspiracy to exchange “food stamps” for methamphetamine or cash.

Julie M. Drake, 48, of Nevada, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge M. Douglas Harpool to nine years in federal prison without parole.

On Jan. 30, 2017, Drake pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and one count of possessing methamphetamine with the intent to distribute. Drake admitted that she participated in a conspiracy from Aug. 30 to Oct. 14, 2015, in Bates and Vernon Counties. Drake accepted Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, better known as “food stamps,” in exchange for methamphetamine or a percentage of the benefits in cash. Drake then used the EBT cards and PINs belonging to others to buy her own food.

Vernon County Sheriff’s Department officers executed a search warrant at Drake’s residence on Oct. 14, 2015. During a search of the master bedroom, officers found a purse that contained 22 baggies of methamphetamine, weighing approximately 100 grams, packaged for distribution. Officers also found two digital scales in the bedroom closet, as well as a safe that contained $4,720. Four EBT cards belonging to four other individuals were found on the dresser.

Investigators then reviewed video surveillance from the Wal-Mart stores in Nevada and Lamar, Mo., which showed Drake using the EBT cards found in her bedroom that she obtained through the sale of methamphetamine.

In interviews with federal agents, one of the recipients of the EBT cards admitted he used his EBT benefits to buy methamphetamine from Drake. He told investigators that a $55.94 transaction was payment for the methamphetamine, which would have cost approximately half the value of the transaction. Another one of the recipients admitted to selling his EBT benefits to Drake for 50 cents per each $1 in benefits. She would come to his residence to retrieve the EBT card, call the 1-800 number on the back of the EBT card to verify the balance, and then give him half of the value in cash.

This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Nhan D. Nguyen and Patrick Carney. It was investigated by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Office of Inspector General and the Vernon County, Mo., Sheriff’s Department.

Updated May 16, 2017

Drug Trafficking