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Press Release

Nixa Man Pleads Guilty to Meth Conspiracy

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

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – A Nixa, Missouri, man pleaded guilty in federal court today for distributing methamphetamine he received in the mail from California.

Jerry D. Thornton, 46, pleaded guilty before U.S. Chief Magistrate Judge David P. Rush to his role in a conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine.

Thornton admitted that he received multiple pounds of methamphetamine through the mail from a source in California from Dec. 8, 2018, to Feb. 5, 2019. He then distributed the methamphetamine to others in southwest Missouri. Thornton received and distributed at least 11.34 kilograms of methamphetamine.

A confidential source told investigators that Thornton received approximately one shipment of methamphetamine each week, and each package contained about five pounds. On Feb. 5, 2019, postal inspectors intercepted a parcel being shipped to Thornton’s address, which contained 990.3 grams of methamphetamine. Inspectors conducted a controlled delivery of a duplicate package, which contained rock salt, to Thornton’s residence. 

When the package was retrieved from his porch, officers executed a search warrant of the residence. During a search of Thornton’s residence, agents found a Ruger .22-caliber semi-automatic pistol in the drawer of a bedside table and a loaded Hi-Point 9mm semi-automatic rifle in the garage.

Under federal statutes, Thornton is subject to a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 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 Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Jessica R. Keller. It was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, and the Nixa, Mo., Police Department.

Updated March 9, 2020

Drug Trafficking