Springfield Man Sentenced to 30 Years in Prison for Leading Large-Scale Meth Conspiracy
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – The leader of a large-scale conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine in Greene County, Mo., was sentenced in federal court today along with two of his co-conspirators.
Patrick R. Brigaudin, 55, of Springfield, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge M. Douglas Harpool to 30 years in federal prison without parole. Co-defendant William Frank Eft, 67, of Springfield was sentenced to six years in federal prison without parole. Co-defendant Gayla Rochelle Phillips, 42, of Willard, Mo., was sentenced to three years in federal prison without parole.
Brigaudin, Eft and Phillips each pleaded guilty to participating in a conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine. Brigaudin and Phillips also pleaded guilty to a related money-laundering conspiracy.
In total, the quantity of pure methamphetamine involved in the conspiracy, which lasted from October 2013 to Feb. 29, 2016, weighed in excess of 4.5 kilograms. The methamphetamine distributed during the conspiracy, according to court documents, primarily originated from Mexico and was smuggled to Missouri.
In March 2015, a shipment of approximately 15 pounds of pure methamphetamine was interdicted by law enforcement officers. Three persons were arrested following a controlled delivery of the methamphetamine to a Springfield hotel. Brigaudin admitted that he attempted to possess some or all of the methamphetamine, which he intended to distribute to others. Brigaudin also admitted to distributing methamphetamine on several occasions in 2015 and 2016.
According to court documents, a steady stream of purchasers came to Brigaudin’s residence to purchase methamphetamine from him, or to deliver methamphetamine to him. On Feb. 29, 2016, co-defendants Eduardo Diaz, 53, and Adrian Ortiz-Corrales, 43, both of Las Vegas, Nev., transported approximately 12 pounds (5.4 kilograms) of methamphetamine and six pounds of heroin to Brigaudin’s residence. While they were removing the methamphetamine from a vehicle, they and Brigaudin were arrested.
Today’s sentencing reflects the court’s finding that Brigaudin made his living by drug trafficking. During 2016, Brigaudin lost tens of thousands of dollars at casinos, paid the mortgage on his residence and purchased a 2006 Lincoln Mark LT pickup truck for $15,700. Although he worked as a taxi driver during this time, law enforcement surveillance found that he hardly ever picked up fares for his taxi.
Eft obtained methamphetamine from Brigaudin, which he then distributed to others. On at least one occasion, Phillips also obtained methamphetamine from Brigaudin to distribute to another person. According to court documents, Phillips received user amounts of methamphetamine from Brigaudin, her boyfriend, free of charge. She assisted Brigaudin to launder drug proceeds by helping to arrange the purchase of a vehicle using $15,700 of drug proceeds. She also accompanied Brigaudin to various casinos to gamble using drug proceeds.
Brigaudin, Eft and Phillips are among four defendants who have been sentenced in this case. Co-defendant Jennifer Minor, 42, of Springfield, was sentenced on March 14, 2018, to seven years and 10 months in federal prison without parole. Eleven co-defendants have pleaded guilty and await sentencing.
This case is being prosecuted by United States Attorney Timothy A. Garrison and Supervisory Assistant U.S. Attorney Randall Eggert. It was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration, IRS-Criminal Investigation, the Springfield, Mo., Police Department, the Missouri State Highway Patrol, the Ozark, Mo., Police Department, the Greene County, Mo., Sheriff’s Department, COMET (the Combined Ozarks Multijurisdictional Enforcement Team) and the South Central Drug Task Force.