Three Cameron, Mo., residents are among five defendants who have pleaded guilty to their roles in a conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine.
Benjamin W. Clark, 26, of Cameron, pleaded guilty today before U.S. Chief Magistrate Judge Matt J. Whitworth to the charge contained in a Nov. 16, 2017, federal indictment.
Clark is the fifth defendant to plead guilty to participating in the drug-trafficking conspiracy. Co-defendant Jalie J. Brinlee, 28, of Cameron, pleaded guilty on Jan. 4, 2019. Co-defendants Felicia C. Ward, 23, of Cameron; Robert J. Keegan, 26, of Harrisonville, Mo.; and Frank E. Hundley, 34, of Kansas City, Mo.; pleaded guilty on Dec. 28, 2018. Brinlee and Keegan also pleaded guilty to possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug-trafficking crime.
All five of the co-defendants admitted they participated in a conspiracy to distribute 500 grams or more of methamphetamine from January to May 24, 2017. Clark and Brinlee purchased methamphetamine from various suppliers and distributed it to customers in Cameron, Kansas City and elsewhere.
On May 12, 2017, Keegan was stopped by law enforcement and was found in possession of a Hi-point .40-caliber handgun and a duffel bag containing approximately 3.8 kilograms of methamphetamine.
On May 24, 2017, a trooper with the Missouri State Highway Patrol stopped Ward, who was carrying a Glock 9mm handgun in her purse. Ward had retrieved the handgun from the vehicle where Clark and Brinlee were located, and Brinlee admitted to possessing the firearm prior to transferring it to Ward. Also found in Ward’s purse was approximately one kilogram of methamphetamine, which Brinlee also admitted to possessing at the time of the traffic stop.
Under the terms of their plea agreements, Clark, Brinlee and Keegan each will be sentenced to 18 years in federal prison without parole. Sentencing hearings will be scheduled after the completion of presentence investigations by the United States Probation Office.
Under federal statutes, Ward and Hundley each are subject to a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in federal prison without parole, up to a sentence of life in federal prison without parole. The maximum statutory sentence is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes, as the sentencing of the defendants will be determined by the court based on the advisory sentencing guidelines and other statutory factors. Sentencing hearings will be scheduled after the completion of presentence investigations by the United States Probation Office.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Patrick Edwards. It was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Belton, Mo., Police Department, the Independence, Mo., Police Department and the Jackson County Drug Task Force.