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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of Missouri

Monday, August 5, 2013

Six Joplin Family Members Among 21 Indicted for Meth Conspiracy


KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Tammy Dickinson, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced today that a Joplin, Mo., couple and their four adult sons are among 21 defendants who have been indicted by a federal grand jury for their roles in a conspiracy to distribute large quantities of methamphetamine in Jasper County, Mo.

Gerardo Hernandez Cazares, Sr., 51, his wife, Leticia Cazares, 51, a citizen of Mexico who is a permanent legal resident of the United States and his four sons, Jose DeLeon Cazares, 28, Gerardo Cazares Jr., 29, Eric Eziquel Cazares, 30, and Abraham Cazares, 24, all of Joplin; Casey Murray, 19, Gilbert Roland, 49, David Roland, 32, Charles Jackson Lee III, 29, James Pickel, 55, Michael Fordyce, 52, Michael Ray Hendrix, 33, Jimmy Don Thompson, 22, Nathan Kent Hernandez, 33, Jorge Ercules, 27, a citizen of Honduras, Henry Gonzalez, 31 and Hugo Rodriguez, 41, both citizens of Mexico, all of Joplin; Daniel Nevarez, 27, (Gerardo Cazares’s son in law), of Carl Junction, Mo.; Gabrielle Sharp, 20, of Springfield, Mo.; and Jose Puente, 41, of Commerce, Okla., were charged in a 34-count indictment returned by a federal grand jury in Springfield on July 24, 2013. The indictment replaced a federal criminal complaint that was filed on June 13, 2013.

According to an affidavit filed in support of the original criminal complaint, law enforcement authorities noticed a significant increase in the availability of methamphetamine in the Joplin area beginning in June 2012. A confidential source stated there was a drug-trafficking organization in Joplin that was importing very pure methamphetamine from Mexico into the United States, then transporting it by automobile to Joplin.

 The federal indictment alleges that all 21 defendants participated in a conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine from July 16, 2012, to June 14, 2013.

In addition to the conspiracy, Gerardo Cazares, Sr., Gerardo Cazares, Jr., Jose Cazares, Hendrix, Pickel, Ercules and Gonzalez are variously charged in 22 counts related to distributing methamphetamine.

Gerardo Cazares, Sr., Gerardo Cazares, Jr., Jose Cazares, Eric Cazares, Leticia Cazares, Hendrix, Pickel, Sharp, Thompson, Hernandez, Rodriguez and Lee are also variously charged in 11 counts related to using a telephone to facilitate the drug-trafficking conspiracy.

The federal indictment also contains two forfeiture allegations, which would require Pickel to forfeit to the government $1,600 that was seized by law enforcement officers, and would require Roland to forfeit to the government $4,162 that was seized by law enforcement officers.

Dickinson cautioned that the charges contained in this indictment are simply accusations, and not evidence of guilt. Evidence supporting the charges must be presented to a federal trial jury, whose duty is to determine guilt or innocence.

This case is being prosecuted by Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Ami Harshad Miller. It was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the FBI, IRS-Criminal Investigation, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the Missouri State Highway Patrol, the Kansas Bureau of Investigation, the Jasper County Drug Task Force, the Joplin, Mo., Police Department and the Miami, Okla., Police Department.
Updated January 12, 2015