Springfield Woman Pleads Guilty to Meth After High-Speed Chase in Osage Beach
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Tammy Dickinson, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that a Springfield, Mo., woman pleaded guilty in federal court today to possessing methamphetamine for distribution, following a high-speed police chase in Osage Beach, Mo.
Stacy Renae Merrell, 28, of Springfield, pleaded guilty before U.S. Magistrate Judge Matt J. Whitworth to the charge contained in an April 2, 2015, federal indictment.
By pleading guilty today, Merrell admitted that she was in possession of methamphetamine with the intent to distribute on Feb. 19, 2015. Merrell must forfeit to the government $12,557 that was seized by law enforcement officers at the time of her arrest, which was derived from the proceeds of drug trafficking.
Merrell was arrested on Feb. 19, 2015, when she refused to stop for an Osage Beach police officer. The officer observed Merrell driving a BMW X5 SUV on U.S. Highway 54 near the Grand Glaize Bridge in Osage Beach. The officer activated his emergency lights, but Merrell refused to stop and led police in a pursuit that exceeded 100 miles per hour. Merrell exited U.S. Highway 54 at the Highway 242 exit in Miller County, Mo., and crashed through a metal gate. Her vehicle went down an embankment and crashed. Merrell ran from the vehicle but fell through a partially frozen pool of water and was completely submerged. Merrell pulled herself out of the water and surrendered to police officers.
During a search of Merrell’s vehicle, officers found a large bundle of $100 bills totaling $10,000 in the glove box and two plastic bags containing a total of 244 grams of methamphetamine on the passenger floor board inside a nylon bag.
Under federal statutes, Merrell is subject to a mandatory minimum sentence of five years in federal prison without parole, up to a sentence of 40 years in federal prison without parole, plus a fine up to $5 million. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the completion of a presentence investigation by the United States Probation Office.
This case is being prosecuted by Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Stuart J. Zander. It was investigated by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, the Osage Beach, Mo., Police Department, the Lake Ozark, Mo., Police Department, the Missouri State Highway Patrol and the Mid-Missouri Drug Task Force.