Federal prosecutors announced the conclusion of a case that originated with the Buchanan County Strike Force.
Tom Larson, Acting United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that Gregory Scott Huggins, II, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Beth Phillips to participating in a conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine from Jan. 1 to Sept. 10, 2015.
Co-defendants Russell Wayne Helton, 36, and Tisha Anne Woods, 32, both of St. Joseph, have also pleaded guilty to their roles in the drug-trafficking conspiracy. Woods was sentenced on Aug. 11, 2016, to four years and nine months in federal prison without parole. Helton, who also pleaded guilty to using firearms in furtherance of the drug-trafficking conspiracy, awaits sentencing.
By pleading guilty today, Huggins, 31, admitted that he supplied methamphetamine to Helton and Woods, who distributed in the St. Joseph area. Conspirators distributed a total of at least five kilograms of methamphetamine during the conspiracy.
The investigation began on Sept. 10, 2015, when law enforcement officers took Helton into custody on a parole violation warrant. Helton was in possession of a Raven Arms .25-caliber handgun. Investigators searched his vehicle and found plastic baggies that contained methamphetamine. Another baggie, containing approximately 40 grams of methamphetamine, was taken from the passenger in Helton’s vehicle, who received it from Helton and was supposed to sell it for $1,400.
Helton told investigators he had been purchasing multiple-ounce quantities of methamphetamine every day for the past three weeks. Helton said he paid $800 per ounce for the methamphetamine and that he purchased $3,000-$7,000 worth of methamphetamine (approximately 3.5 kilograms) at a time.
Woods told officers she had been making trips to Independence with Helton at least three times a week to pick up methamphetamine from Huggins. Woods made at least 16 trips with Helton and picked up an estimated total of over five kilograms methamphetamine from Huggins. She admitted that the distribution of more than 1.5 kilograms of methamphetamine could be associated with her.
Under federal statutes, Huggins is subject to a sentence of up to 20 years in federal prison without parole. Helton is subject to a sentence of up to 20 years in federal prison without parole for the drug-trafficking conspiracy, plus a mandatory minimum sentence of five years in federal prison without parole for the firearm, which must be served consecutively.
A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the completion of a presentence investigation by the United States Probation Office.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Bruce Rhoades. It was investigated by the Buchanan County Drug Strike Force and the Drug Enforcement Administration.