Kansas City man linked to murder sentenced to 20 years in prison

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A Kansas City, Mo., man implicated in a Westport murder has been sentenced in federal court for fentanyl trafficking, illegally possessing firearms, and illegally possessing a machine gun.

Ban N. To, 20, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Greg Kays on Wednesday, Jan. 31, to 20 years in federal prison without parole. This sentence reflects the government’s request for a significant upward variance from the federal sentencing guidelines range.

On June 21, 2023, To pleaded guilty to one count of possessing fentanyl with the intent to distribute, one count of carrying firearms during and related to a drug-trafficking crime, and one count of possessing a machine gun.

Beyond these crimes, however, evidence and testimony were introduced during the sentencing hearing regarding To’s involvement in an April 15, 2023, shooting murder in the Westport Entertainment District for which he has not been charged, including surveillance video that showed To carrying out the homicide with another suspect. In imposing the upward variance to a 240-month sentence, Judge Kays made a finding of fact that, based on the evidence presented at the hearing, To committed the murder on April 15, 2023.

This investigation began in April 2023, when the Kansas City, Mo., Police Department placed a felony vehicle alert on a red Toyota Highlander due to its association with a homicide that occurred on April 15, 2023. The vehicle had been caught on surveillance video pulling into a parking lot near West 40th Terrace and Pennsylvania Avenue in the Westport area. Two occupants of the vehicle began walking to the northeast end of the parking lot when they exchanged gunfire with another person. The firefight continued to the intersection of West 40th Street and Washington Street, where the two suspects surrounded the victim, shooting him multiple times. The victim was shortly thereafter confirmed deceased. The two suspects ran away but eventually returned to the vehicle and drove away. Multiple spent shell casings were recovered in the area of the homicide.

Kansas City police officers stopped the red Toyota Highlander, which was being driven by To, on April 21, 2023. Officers searched the Toyota Highlander and found a loaded Taurus .45-caliber handgun, which had been reported stolen, under the driver’s seat. They also found a zip lock bag that contained 75 fentanyl pills near the steering wheel. Officers found three additional firearms inside the locked glove compartment – a Glock 9mm handgun that had been reported stolen, a Polymer80 9mm handgun without a serial number, and a Glock .40-caliber handgun equipped with a Glock switch to make it fully automatic.

Kansas City police detectives also were able to recover nine more firearms associated with To while he was being detained in the Jackson County Detention Center. To, in a monitored telephone call, asked his girlfriend to go to his storage locker and remove some bags. Detectives were able to track down those bags, which contained a Mossberg .22-caliber rifle, a Romarm/Cugir Mini-Draco 7.62x39mm pistol, a Radical Firearms 7.62x39mm rifle, a Sigarms .357-caliber pistol, a Glock 9mm pistol, two Glock .357-caliber pistols, and two Glock .40-caliber pistols equipped with Glock switches to make them fully automatic.

Ballistics analysis confirmed the above-noted Romarm/Cugir Mini-Draco 7.62x39mm pistol fired the shell casings recovered from the scene of the April 15, 2023, homicide. Further lab analysis revealed To’s DNA on the trigger of that firearm.

According to court documents, To is a known associate of the Money Gang, an active violent gang in the metropolitan area.

This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeffrey Q. McCarther. It was investigated by the Kansas City, Mo., Police Department.

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