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Justice News

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

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Three Jefferson City Men Charged with Distributing Meth

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Tammy Dickinson, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced today that three Jefferson City, Mo., men have been charged in federal court following a police chase that resulted in the seizure of a large quantity of methamphetamine.


David E. Rodebaugh, 40, Michael Pearson, 31, and Hernan Hurtado, 23, all of Jefferson City, were charged in separate, but related, criminal complaints filed in the U.S. District Court in Jefferson City, Mo., on Saturday, Feb. 14, 2015. All three defendants had their initial court appearances today and remain in federal custody pending detention hearings.


Rodebaugh and Pearson were each charged with one count of possessing methamphetamine with the intent to distribute and one count of participating in a conspiracy to possess methamphetamine with the intent to distribute. Hurtado was charged with one count of distributing methamphetamine.


According to affidavits filed in support of the federal criminal complaints, law enforcement officers were conducting surveillance of Rodebaugh on Friday, Feb. 13, 2015 as part of an ongoing drug-trafficking investigation. Rodebaugh and Pearson met with Hurtado in the parking lot at the Capital Mall in Jefferson City, the affidavit says, where Pearson took a plastic bag from the back cab area of Hurtado’s pickup and placed it in the back seat of the Acura he and Rodebaugh had driven to the mall.


Pearson drove the Acura, with Rodebaugh in the front passenger seat, as they left the mall. Police attempted to stop Pearson, the affidavit says, but he refused to stop and led officers in pursuit. The Acura was eventually rendered inoperable and Pearson fled on foot. Rodebaugh remained inside the Acura and was detained. Pearson was later located and arrested.


According to the affidavit, law enforcement officers found the plastic bag, which Rodebaugh later admitted he had thrown out the vehicle’s window during the pursuit, about 75 yards from where the Acura was stopped. Inside the plastic bag were two large bundles that contained approximately five pounds of methamphetamine.


Later that same afternoon, Hurtado called the Jefferson City, Mo., Police Department to report he had been robbed of $6,000 while at his home in Jefferson City. Hurtado voluntarily came to the police station, where he was questioned and arrested.


Dickinson cautioned that the charges contained in these complaints 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 Assistant U.S. Attorney Jim Lynn. It was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration and MUSTANG (the Mid-Missouri Unified Strike Team and Narcotics Group).

Drug Trafficking
Updated February 17, 2015