Nine Joplin Residents Among Those Indicted in Meth Conspiracy
SPRINGFIELD, MO—Tammy Dickinson, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced today that 11 defendants have been indicted by a federal grand jury for their roles in a conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine in the Joplin, Mo., area.
Miriam Deleon, 33, of Brownsville, Texas, her brother, Jose Luis Deleon, Jr., 35, and Jack Holguin, 45, Ashley Lynn Mobley, 30, Brian Ashton, 29, Jeremy McClean, 32, Billy Duane Henson, 60, Eric Allen Meyer, 31, Brian Stark, 40, and Juan Leonardo Simmons, 31, all of Joplin, and Israel Belmontes-Cisneros, 32, a citizen of Mexico residing in Sugarland, Texas, were charged in a 12-count indictment returned under seal by a federal grand jury in Springfield, Mo., on Sept. 30, 2014. The superseding indictment was unsealed and made public upon the arrest and initial court appearance of Stark on Tuesday, Oct. 7, 2014.
The federal indictment alleges that all of the defendants participated in a conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine from April 1, 2013, to July 31, 2014.
According to an affidavit filed in support of the original criminal complaint, Miriam Deleon was identified as the leader of a drug-trafficking organization and as a major source of supply in the Joplin area as the result of a year-long, multi-agency investigation into an international organization based in Matamoras, Mexico, with members across the United States, including Texas, Oklahoma and Missouri.
In addition to the drug-trafficking conspiracy, Miriam Deleon and Blemontes-Cisneros are charged together in one count of aiding and abetting each other to distribute 50 grams or more of methamphetamine on July 31, 2014.
Jose Deleon, Holguin, Meyer and Ashton are also charged with one count each of being a felon in possession of a firearm. Ashton is also charged with two counts of being a felon in possession of a firearm and one count of possessing a shotgun that was not registered to him. Jose Deleon and Ashton are charged together in one count of aiding and abetting each other to possess firearms in furtherance of a drug-trafficking crime. Simmons and Meyer are also each charged with one count of possessing firearms in furtherance of a drug-trafficking crime.
The federal indictment also contains several forfeiture allegations, which would require the defendants to forfeit to the government any property derived from the proceeds of the alleged violations or any property used to commit the alleged violations, including $5,642 that was seized from Holguin by law enforcement officers and $3,658 that was seized from Meyer by law enforcement officers. Simmons would be required to forfeit an AMT .380-caliber handgun; Ashton would be required to forfeit a Mossberg 12-gauge shotgun, a Glock .40-caliber handgun and a Kirikkale 9mm handgun; and Meyer would be required to forfeit a Harrington and Richardson .32-caliber revolver and a Taurus .38-caliber revolver. Holguin and Jose Deleon would also be required to forfeit various ammunition.
Dickinson cautioned that the charges contained in this indictment 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. Attorneys Ami Harshad Miller and Cindy Hyde. It was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, the FBI, the Jasper County Drug Task Force, the Joplin, Mo., Police Department, the Missouri State Highway Patrol, the Kansas Bureau of Investigations, IRS-Criminal Investigations, the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Newton County, Mo., Prosecuting Attorney.