Thursday, March 17, 2016
Joplin man sentenced for role in meth conspiracy
A Brownsville, Texas woman and a Joplin, Mo., man were sentenced in federal court today for their roles in a conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine in the Joplin area.
Miriam DeLeon, 35, of Brownsville, and Juan Leonardo Simmons, 32, of Joplin, were sentenced in separate appearances before U.S. District Judge M. Douglas Harpool. DeLeon was sentenced to 20 years in federal prison without parole. Simmons was sentenced to six years and three months in federal prison without parole.
According to court documents, DeLeon was identified as the leader of a drug-trafficking organization and as a major source of supply in the Joplin area as the result of a year-long, multi-agency investigation into an international organization based in Matamoras, Mexico, with members across the United States, including Texas, Oklahoma and Missouri.
On Feb. 18, 2015, DeLeon pleaded guilty to participating in a conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine and to aiding and abetting others to distribute methamphetamine.
DeLeon was arrested on July 31, 2014, after visiting the Jasper County courthouse for a hearing for her brother and co-defendant, Jose Luis DeLeon, Jr., 36, of Joplin, who was being held on state charges at that time. In the courthouse parking lot, she handed another person a bag of dog food that was later found to contain 470 grams of methamphetamine. According to court documents, Miriam DeLeon was bringing the methamphetamine to her brother, who planned to distribute inside the Jasper County jail.
Miriam DeLeon had also been stopped in August 2008 by the Texas Department of Public Safety for a traffic violation in Wharton, Texas. The traffic stop resulted in the seizure of $122,300 that was discovered hidden in the vehicle.
Simmons pleaded guilty on April 15, 2015, to his role in the drug-trafficking conspiracy and to illegally possessing a firearm. Simmons was arrested in April 2013, when a Joplin police officer stopped him while driving a Dodge truck. Officers found methamphetamine, multiple glass smoking pipes and straws with residue during a search of the vehicle. They also seized an AMT .380-caliber handgun. Simmons was arrested again in July 2013 at The Downstream Casino in Quapaw, Okla., for possessing methamphetamine. Law enforcement officers seized a baggie of methamphetamine, a loaded Kel-Tec 9mm pistol, a drug ledger and $1,160 from his hotel room.
A confidential source told investigators that he traveled to Houston, Texas, with Simmons and another person to pick up a kilogram of methamphetamine for Jose DeLeon, which was put into a spare tire mounted to the vehicle they were driving for the return trip to Joplin.
Co-defendant Eric Allen Meyer, 32, of Joplin, was sentenced on Nov. 12, 2015, to 15 years in federal prison without parole. Meyer pleaded guilty to his role in the drug-trafficking conspiracy and to illegally possessing a firearm.
Jose DeLeon has pleaded guilty to his role in the conspiracy and to being a felon in possession of a firearm and awaits sentencing. A confidential source told law enforcement investigators that Jose DeLeon sold multiple pounds of methamphetamine each week and had received at least two shipments of firearms in exchange for methamphetamine, each approximately 15 firearms.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Ami Harshad Miller and Cindy Hyde. It was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, the FBI, the Jasper County Drug Task Force, the Joplin, Mo., Police Department, the Missouri State Highway Patrol, the Kansas Bureau of Investigations, IRS-Criminal Investigations, the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Newton County, Mo., Prosecuting Attorney.