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Justice News

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

Monday, September 16, 2019

Springfield Man Sentenced to 24 Years for Leading Heroin Conspiracy

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – A Springfield, Missouri, man was sentenced in federal court today for leading a drug-trafficking organization that distributed as much as 10 kilograms of heroin in Greene County, Mo., over a 15-month time period.

Jovan J. Denson, 41, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Stephen R. Bough to 24 years and four months in federal prison without parole.

On March 18, 2019, Denson pleaded guilty to participating in a conspiracy to distribute heroin from March 1, 2016, to May 18, 2017. Denson also pleaded guilty to four counts of distributing heroin, one count of possessing heroin with the intent to distribute, and one count of money laundering (involving the down payment on a vehicle with $9,500 in proceeds of illegal drug trafficking).

Denson was arrested on May 17, 2017. At the time of his arrest, he was in possession of $11,500 that was derived from drug distribution. Law enforcement officers executed a search warrant at his residence the same day and seized approximately 528 grams of heroin. During the time of this conspiracy, Denson was on state parole for distributing crack cocaine.

Denson is among 14 defendants charged in this case, and among six who have pleaded guilty and been sentenced. Five co-defendants have pleaded guilty and await sentencing; one co-defendant is deceased.

Co-defendant Gerald E. Pope, 41, of Springfield, pleaded guilty in federal court today to his role in the conspiracy to distribute heroin. A sentencing hearing has not yet been scheduled.

One dose of heroin, which sells on the street for approximately $5 to $15, contains on average about .025 grams of heroin (40,000 doses per kilogram). An individual dose of heroin can be fatal, depending on its purity, and at least one death was linked to this conspiracy.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Josephine L. Stockard. 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.

Drug Trafficking
Updated September 17, 2019