A Belton, Missouri, man has been sentenced in federal court for illegally possessing firearms and for drug trafficking and money laundering conspiracies.
Maurice L. Sneed, also known as “Sneedy,” 30, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Gary A. Fenner on Thursday, Jan. 6, 2022, to five years and eight months in federal prison without parole.
On Aug. 4, 2021, Sneed pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute cocaine and marijuana, one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering, and one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm.
When Sneed was arrested on Jan. 9, 2020, law enforcement officers executed a search warrant at his residence. Officers found a Diamondback 5.56mm short rifle under the bed and a Glock 9mm semi-automatic pistol in the bedroom dresser. Investigators also found $4,600 under a bathtub. In the basement, investigators found an elaborate marijuana-growing operation. The operation contained approximately 106 live marijuana plants and approximately 401 grams of dried marijuana.
Under federal law, it is illegal for anyone who has been convicted of a felony to be in possession of any firearm or ammunition. Sneed has prior felony convictions for conspiracy to possess cocaine with the intent to distribute and possession of a controlled substance.
Sneed admitted that, from Aug 2018 to Jan. 7, 2020, he was the leader of a conspiracy to distribute cocaine and marijuana. Through the course of the conspiracy, Sneed distributed or possessed with the intent to distribute, at least 32.25 pounds of marijuana. High-grade marijuana can be sold for a profit of at least $1,000 per pound; Sneed admitted that he obtained at least $32,250 in proceeds as a result of his participation in the drug-trafficking conspiracy.
Sneed traveled to Texas to meet with co-conspirator Oscar C. Roberson, 29, of Houston, Texas. Roberson also made trips to Missouri to meet with Sneed. They also made trips to and from Colorado and Texas while driving in tandem. During those trips, one of them transported marijuana and the other transported money or worked as a decoy to divert possible law enforcement attention. Roberson also pleaded guilty and was sentenced to a term of probation.
Sneed also admitted that from 2016 to Jan. 1, 2018, he and others caused multiple money transfers and cash deposits into various bank accounts across the United States. Sneed knew the funds used for these transactions were the proceeds of drug trafficking. Sneed admitted that he conducted these transactions to conceal and disguise the nature of the proceeds.
When Sneed was arrested in 2016, two of his cell phones were seized by law enforcement. Investigators found evidence on the phones that Sneed was directing the mailing of numerous parcels to the Kansas City area. Investigators interdicted a number of parcels and confirmed they contained marijuana. Another cell phone, which Sneed lost during a traffic stop in January 2019, contained additional evidence of money laundering, including photos of deposit slips.
A review of all the accounts named in the deposit slips located on Sneed’s phones revealed total cash deposits conducted in the Kansas City metropolitan area in the amount of $508,020. Shortly after cash deposits were made, the cash was then withdrawn in California. These accounts are known as funnel accounts, which are used to rapidly move cash from one geographic area to another. The identified funnel accounts utilized by Sneed also received cash deposits in other states around the country, including Virginia, Maryland, Florida, Texas, Iowa, Nebraska, and Nevada. The total cash deposits into these funnel accounts from across the country was over $1 million.
On July 2, 2019, Roberson was stopped by the Nebraska State Patrol. Roberson indicated he was traveling from Colorado to Missouri. He also admitted to troopers there was marijuana in the vehicle. In a subsequent search of his vehicle, troopers discovered seven bags of marijuana, weighing approximately four pounds.
This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Ashleigh A. Ragner and Mary Kate Butterfield. It was investigated by the FBI, the Kansas City, Mo., Police Department, IRS-Criminal Investigation, the Missouri Highway Patrol, and the Kansas Highway Patrol.