Seven Plead Guilty to Federal Meth Charges - The Missourian: News

default avatar
Welcome to the site! Login or Signup below.
|
||
Logout|My Dashboard

Seven Plead Guilty to Federal Meth Charges

Print
Font Size:
Default font size
Larger font size

Posted: Friday, May 25, 2012 2:09 pm | Updated: 2:57 pm, Thu Oct 24, 2013.

Seven people, including six from this area, have pleaded guilty in a major methamphetamine conspiracy that spanned almost four years.

The U.S. attorney’s office reported Friday that sentencing of the seven defendants is scheduled for August and September.

The following defendants pleaded guilty to multiple charges of conspiracy to possess pseudoephedrine with the intent to manufacture methamphetamine and possession of equipment used to manufacture methamphetamine:

Richard L. Treis, 39, Leasburg; Robert “Biz” Swinney, 22, St. Louis; Chance C. Ziegler, 34, St. Clair;

Joseph R. McNamara, 26, Farmington; Shannon M. Stephens, 26, St. Clair; Bodette O. Algiere, a/k/a Bodette O. Inman, 31, New Haven; and Sharon McGraw, 56, Washington.

The case was investigated by the Franklin County Narcotics Enforcement Unit and the federal Drug Enforcement Administration.

The guilty pleas were entered before U.S. District Court Judge Audrey G. Fleissig who will consider U.S. sentencing guidelines in determining punishment.

The charges carry maximum penalties of up to 20 years in prison.

The seven were indicted in connection with activities that ranged from 2008 through February 2012.

The Investigation

Last year, when Franklin County narcotics investigators started finding large amounts of cold pills at some meth lab scenes they launched an investigation that linked local meth cooks to gang members in St. Louis.

Gang members reportedly stood outside pharmacies and would pay people $20 to go inside and buy a $10 box of pills containing pseudoephedrine and tell them to keep the change. They then would sell the pills to meth cooks in Franklin and Jefferson counties for $50 to $80 a box.

That investigation culminated this week with federal grand jury indictments being issued against a ringleader of a St. Louis gang and six residents from Franklin and Jefferson counties.

Detective Sgt. Jason Grellner, who heads up the Franklin County Narcotics Enforcement Unit, said Detective Cpl. Scott Briggs launched the initial investigation and traced the unusual partnership to a St. Louis halfway house where inmates were housed after their release from federal prison on drug and weapon charges.

Briggs said the local task force began looking into the case in September 2011.

“We started seeing a big increase in the amount of labs and the size of the labs in the southern part of the county,” Briggs said. “We were able to track the pseudoephedrine purchases back to St. Louis and identified the source of the supplier.”

“Treis and Stephens were involved in multiple cases we were investigating. They were among the major targets in the county,” Briggs said.

“Over the six months of the investigation we were able to determine that Swinney was supplying the pseudoephedrine,” he told The Missourian.

Federal law restricts a person to the purchase of nine grams of pseudoephedrine in a 30-day period and 108 grams per year. Pharmacies are required to maintain logs of people who purchase the drugs.

The suspects in the investigation were able to skirt that by having multiple individuals purchase the legal amount of pseudoephedrine, Briggs noted.

Grellner said to legally purchase the amounts of pseudoephedrine involved in the investigation would have required 148 individuals purchasing legal amounts of cold pills.

Treis and Ziegler were each charged with one count of conspiracy to manufacture in excess of 50 grams of methamphetamine, two counts of conspiracy to possess pseudoephedrine with intent to manufacture methamphetamine, and one count of possession of pseudoephedrine with intent to manufacture methamphetamine;

McGraw is charged with one count of maintaining a drug-involved premises, one count of conspiracy to possess pseudoephedrine with intent to manufacture methamphetamine and one count of possession of pseudoephedrine with intent to manufacture methamphetamine;

McNamara was charged with one count of conspiracy to manufacture in excess of 50 grams of methamphetamine, two counts of conspiracy to possess pseudoephedrine with intent to manufacture methamphetamine, and one count of distribution of methamphetamine;

Algiere was charged with one count of conspiracy to possess pseudoephedrine with intent to manufacture methamphetamine and one count of possession of pseudoephedrine with intent to manufacture methamphetamine.

Stephens was charged with one count each of conspiracy to manufacture in excess of 50 grams of methamphetamine, conspiracy to possess pseudoephedrine with intent to manufacture methamphetamine, possession of pseudoephedrine with intent to manufacture methamphetamine and conspiracy to possess equipment with the intent to manufacture methamphetamine.

Swinney was charged with conspiracy to possess pseudoephedrine with intent to manufacture methamphetamine and possession of pseudoephedrine with intent to manufacture methamphetamine.

/news