Wednesday, February 04, 2015
Springfield residents plead guilty to distributing tons of marijuana
Tammy Dickinson, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that two Springfield, Mo., residents pleaded guilty in federal court today to their roles in a conspiracy that distributed thousands of pounds of marijuana in southwest Missouri.
Brian D. Hanson, 30, and Brenda Swearingin, 56, both of Springfield, pleaded guilty in separate appearances before U.S. District Judge M. Douglas Harpool to the charges contained in a Nov. 6, 2013, federal indictment.
By pleading guilty today, Hanson and Swearingin admitted that they and co-defendant Sean Bond, 39, of Republic, Mo., and others participated in a conspiracy to distribute marijuana in Greene County, Mo., and elsewhere from April 1, 2010, to June 19, 2013.
Hanson admitted that he was responsible for transporting between 1,000 kilograms and 3,000 kilograms of marijuana into southwest Missouri. Swearingin pleaded guilty to distributing less than 50 kilograms of marijuana in the conspiracy and to illegally possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug-trafficking crime. Bond pleaded guilty on Oct. 16, 2014.
Bond arranged for Hanson and others to pick up marijuana from individuals outside of Springfield, then transport the marijuana to Springfield for Bond to distribute to other persons. Hanson and Bond also traveled together to Texas to obtain marijuana that had been smuggled into the United States from Mexico.
Swearingin admitted that she purchased marijuana from Bond and distributed it to others. Swearingin admitted that she purchased pound amounts of marijuana from Bond each month for about two years. She received approximately 10.872 kilograms of marijuana from Bond during her involvement in the conspiracy. When law enforcement officers executed a search warrant at Swearingin’s residence, they discovered a Hefty Freezer bag that contained approximately 173 grams of marijuana under a mattress in the guest bedroom. They also found a loaded Taurus .22-caliber handgun in Swearingin’s purse.
In addition to the drug-trafficking conspiracy, Hanson and Bond each pleaded guilty to participating in a conspiracy to launder the proceeds of marijuana sales. For example, Hanson gave Bond a 2002 BMW 745i and a 1969 Chevrolet Chevelle to pay a drug debt. Hanson purchased a 2003 Ford Crown Victoria at an auto auction, using proceeds from the sale of marijuana. Hanson then used this vehicle to transport marijuana from Houston and Kansas City, Mo., to Springfield.
Bond also admitted that he purchased a Wellcraft 3200 Martinique boat (which he registered in his father’s name), in part with drug proceeds, and a 2007 Cadillac Escalade that he used to distribute marijuana to customers in the Springfield area. Bond also used drug proceeds to purchase a 2002 BMW 725i, a 2002 Firebird pro-mod race car, a 1968 Chevrolet Camaro, three go karts, a 2006 Haulmark trailer and a 2004 Ford F350. That property has been seized by law enforcement officers and is subject to be forfeited to the government.
Under federal statutes, Hanson and Bond are each 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. Swearingin is subject to a sentence of up to five years in federal prison without parole for the drug-trafficking conspiracy and a mandatory minimum consecutive sentence of five years in federal prison for illegally possessing a firearm. 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 Randall D. Eggert. It was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration, IRS-Criminal Investigation, the Missouri State Highway Patrol, the Springfield, Mo., Police Department and COMET (the Combined Ozark Multi-jurisdictional Enforcement Team).