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Press Release

Seven Springfield Residents Among Those Indicted for Heroin Conspiracy

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 seven Springfield, Mo., residents are among 11 defendants indicted by a federal grand jury today for their roles in a conspiracy to distribute at least a kilogram of heroin in Greene County, Mo.

Jovan J. Denson, 39, Gerald E. Pope, 41, Edward J. Smith, 51, Christine D. Jones, 26, Benjamin J.H. Goodman, 22, Earl E. Jones, 49, and Cierra Nash, 24, all of Springfield; Oriola J. Ijaola, 40, of Chicago, Ill.; Deanna J. Miller, 47, of Orlando, Fla.; Amy E. Mitchell, 45, address unknown, and Reginald Perkins, age and address unknown, were charged in a 12-count superseding indictment returned by a federal grand jury in Springfield.

Today’s indictment alleges that all of the defendants participated in a conspiracy to distribute one kilogram or more of heroin in Greene County from March 1, 2016, to May 18, 2017.

In addition to the drug-trafficking conspiracy, Denson is charged with five counts of distributing heroin and one count of money laundering. The indictment alleges that Denson used $9,500 from illegal drug trafficking to make a down payment on a vehicle.

Ijaola is also charged with one count of distributing heroin. Miller, Jones and Smith are each also charged with one count of possessing heroin with the intent to distribute. 

Pope is also charged with one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm. The indictment alleges that Pope was in possession of a Ruger 9mm semi-automatic pistol on May 18, 2017.

The indictment also contains forfeiture allegations, which would require Denson to forfeit to the government $13,131 seized by law enforcement officers and Pope to forfeit to the government $4,852 seized by law enforcement officers.
Today’s superseding indictment replaces the original indictment, which was returned by a federal grand jury on June 13, 2017. The superseding indictment includes Ijaola and Perkins as additional defendants; Brian J. Brown, 36, and Corbin S. Rice, 26, both of Springfield, were previously charged in the original indictment and have pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute at least a kilogram heroin.
Larson cautioned that the charges contained in this indictment are simply accusations, and not evidence of guilt.

This case is being prosecuted by Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Jody M. Larison. It was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, IRS-Criminal Investigation, Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the Springfield, Mo., Police Department, the Greene County, Mo., Sheriff’s Department and the Missouri State Highway Patrol.

Updated December 12, 2017

Drug Trafficking