St. Joseph man sentenced to 17 year prison term for heroin conspiracy, illegal firearms

Heroin and Needle
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A St. Joseph, Mo., man was sentenced in federal court for his role in a conspiracy to distribute heroin and for illegally possessing firearms.

Roderick A. Hughes, 48, was sentenced by District Judge Greg Kays to 17 years in federal prison without parole.

On May 27, 2022, Hughes pleaded guilty to participating in a conspiracy to distribute one kilogram or more of heroin in the St. Joseph area from Sept. 1, 2019, to March 26, 2021, and to possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug-trafficking crime.

According to court documents, Hughes is responsible for distributing at least 461.9 grams of heroin, which is over 4,600 potentially lethal, 0.1-gram “doses” of the drug.

Law enforcement officers executed a search warrant at Hughes’s apartment on Feb. 23, 2021. Officers found a silver revolver on the kitchen table. They also found a loaded Glock 9mm handgun on a nightstand in the bedroom, a Stoeger 9mm handgun and a Jennings Bryco 9mm handgun on a shelf in the bedroom, and a black safe under the bed that contained 23.4 grams of heroin and $4,703 in cash. Officers also searched the garage and found three plastic bags with a total of 96.3 grams of heroin hidden in the rafters.

Co-defendant Franklin T. Hicks Jr., also known as “Frankie,” 42, of St. Joseph, pleaded guilty to the same charges and will be sentenced on Nov. 1, 2023, at 10 a.m.

Hicks was arrested outside of a hotel in St. Joseph on Jan. 22, 2021. He was in possession of 35.8 grams of heroin and $2,687 in cash. Officers also found a loaded Rock Island Armory .380-caliber handgun under the driver’s seat of his car and a Ruger 9mm handgun in the glovebox.

Co-defendant Harvey E. Johnson, 50, of Kansas City, Mo., pleaded guilty to his role in the heroin-trafficking conspiracy and will be sentenced on Oct. 26, 2023, at 10 a.m. Johnson, who was in possession of approximately 51 grams of heroin at the time of his arrest, admitted that the drug-trafficking conspiracy involved at least two kilograms of heroin.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Byron H. Black. It was investigated by the St. Joseph, Mo., Police Department, the Buchanan County, Mo., Sheriff’s Department, the Drug Enforcement Administration, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

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