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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Springfield, Ash Grove Men Sentenced for Meth Conspiracy

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Tom Larson, Acting United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that a Springfield, Mo., man and an Ash Grove, Mo., man were sentenced in federal court today for their roles in a conspiracy to distribute large quantities of methamphetamine.

Anthony J. Van Pelt, 38, of Springfield, and Brandon A. House, 33, of Ash Grove, were sentenced in separate appearances before U.S. District Judge M. Douglas Harpool. Van Pelt was sentenced to 21 years in federal prison without parole. House was sentenced to 20 years in federal prison without parole.

Beginning in 2012, the Drug Enforcement Administration, assisted by other agencies, investigated one of the largest methamphetamine distribution rings in southwest Missouri. The investigation resulted in the indictment of 28 co-defendants.

In 2013 through 2014, Daniel and Kenna Harmon, 38, of Republic, Mo., distributed in excess of 45 kilograms of methamphetamine in southwest Missouri. Van Pelt was one of the sources that provided methamphetamine to the Harmon drug-trafficking organization during this time. Kenna Harmon also obtained methamphetamine from other sources and provided distributive amounts to Van Pelt and to House, who was a mid-level distributor.

Van Pelt was arrested on Nov. 27, 2014, when he was found hiding under the bed in his residence during the execution of a search warrant. Van Pelt had been identified earlier in the day as the driver of a Ford Mustang parked in the driveway of Kenna Harmon’s residence. Police officers followed Van Pelt when he drove away from Kenna Harmon’s residence and conducted a traffic stop, but Van Pelt fled from the vehicle. Officers found $23,663 inside the vehicle.

When law enforcement officers executed the search warrant at Van Pelt’s residence later the same day, they found four rifles and numerous rounds of ammunition in the same bedroom where Van Pelt was hiding. Officers also found approximately 405 grams of methamphetamine, marijuana, and $3,990 in a hidden safe by the bedroom. An additional 36 grams of methamphetamine was seized out of the bedroom. Agents found a duffel bag in the garage of the residence that contained approximately 20 pounds of marijuana and 1,066 grams of methamphetamine (a total of approximately 1.5 kilograms of methamphetamine).

Springfield police officers executed a search warrant at a residence on Dec. 12, 2013. House was present with two other persons, all of whom denied ownership of a baggie of methamphetamine and $4,000 seized by officers. House was also a passenger in a vehicle stopped by Springfield police officers on Jan. 27, 2014. Officers found $13,850 inside the vehicle.

A source of information told DEA agents that he purchased methamphetamine from House. According to this source, House was buying at least two pounds of methamphetamine every other day from Kenna Harmon.

On July 8, 2014, members of the COMET Drug Task Force conducted a check of a suspicious person inside a vehicle parked in a residential driveway in Nixa, Mo. House, who was clearly under the influence of a controlled substance, was passed out inside the vehicle. A Christian County deputy found 33.66 grams of methamphetamine, .77 grams of cocaine, $840, pills, blotted paper that appeared to be LSD, and glass smoking pipes inside the vehicle.

Kenna Harmon was arrested in November 2014. Agents searched various residences and vehicles belonging to Kenna Harmon and her co-conspirators and seized approximately five kilograms of methamphetamine and approximately $128,674. Kenna Harmon has pleaded guilty to being a leader in the drug-trafficking conspiracy as well as a money-laundering conspiracy and to being a felon in possession of a firearm.

Daniel Harmon was indicted in the Eastern District of Missouri and pleaded guilty to possessing methamphetamine with the intent to distribute and to being a felon in possession of a firearm.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Randall D. Eggert, Nhan D. Nguyen and Cynthia J. Hyde. It was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration, IRS-Criminal Investigation, the Missouri State Highway Patrol, the Springfield, Mo., Police Department and Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

Topic(s): 
Drug Trafficking
Updated May 31, 2017