Friday, March 18, 2016
Republic woman pleads guilty to conspiracy to distribute meth in Springfield
A Republic, Mo., woman and a Lee’s Summit, Mo., man have pleaded guilty in federal court to their roles in a conspiracy to distribute large quantities of methamphetamine in Greene, Polk, Christian, Jasper, Laclede and Webster counties.
Kenna Harmon, 37, of Republic, and Carlos Tapia, 41, of Lee’s Summit, pleaded guilty in separate appearances before U.S. District Judge M. Douglas Harpool on Thursday, March 17, 2016.
Harmon pleaded guilty to being a leader, along with her husband, Daniel Harmon, in the drug-trafficking conspiracy as well as a money-laundering conspiracy and to being a felon in possession of a firearm. In total, the Harmon drug-trafficking organization was responsible for the distribution of over 45 kilograms of methamphetamine from June 1, 2013, through Nov. 29, 2014.
Tapia pleaded guilty to his role in the drug-trafficking conspiracy. Tapia admitted that he provided large amounts of methamphetamine to conspirators. Tapia provided approximately 10 pounds of methamphetamine every two weeks during the time of the conspiracy, to individual members of the conspiracy.
Beginning in 2012, the Drug Enforcement Administration, assisted by other agencies, investigated a large-scale methamphetamine distribution network in southwest Missouri involving several sources of supply. The Harmons obtained pound amounts of methamphetamine from sources in Kansas City and St. Louis, Mo., and in Oklahoma for distribution in the Springfield area.
In December 2013, Daniel Harmon was stopped by law enforcement officers outside of St. Louis. During a search of his vehicle, officers discovered approximately four pounds of methamphetamine, $60,000 and a handgun. Daniel Harmon was indicted in the Eastern District of Missouri and pleaded guilty to possessing methamphetamine with the intent to distribute and to being a felon in possession of a firearm.
After Daniel Harmon’s arrest and incarceration, Kenna Harmon continued to lead the drug-trafficking organization in its distribution of methamphetamine. Kenna Harmon directed the organization to purchase large amounts of methamphetamine from various sources of supply and provided distributive amounts of methamphetamine to co-defendants. Kenna Harmon, in order to distribute the large amount of methamphetamine that she was responsible for selling, stored methamphetamine in several residences in Greene and Polk Counties, and directed several individuals to assist in maintaining those residences.
On Nov. 27, 2014, Kenna Harmon was stopped in her blue BMW 545i while traveling in Springfield. During a search of Kenna Harmon’s vehicle, officers discovered a small amount of methamphetamine, $4,604 and marijuana, all of which was found on either her person or within the vehicle. A search warrant was executed at her residence the same day, where agents found approximately $20,000, approximately 5 ½ pounds of methamphetamine and a loaded Jennings .22-caliber pistol (in a nightstand in her bedroom).
Under the terms of her plea agreement, Kenna Harmon must forfeit to the government the house she was building in Halfway, Mo. Kenna Harmon paid approximately $324,185 in cash for the construction of the residence, which was from drug-trafficking proceeds. The proceeds were paid in installments to a local building contractor that Kenna Harmon hired. She told the contractor that she had inherited the cash, which was not true. She used the property to promote her continued sale of methamphetamine by storing methamphetamine at the residence. Harmon must also forfeit a firearm, five vehicles used by the conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine, jewelry purchased with drug proceeds and approximately $61,000.
Under federal statutes, Kenna Harmon is subject to a mandatory minimum sentence of 20 years in federal prison without parole due to her prior felony conviction for drug trafficking, up to a sentence of life in federal prison without parole. Tapia is 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 defendant will be determined by the court based on the advisory sentencing guidelines and other statutory factors. 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. Attorneys Randall D. Eggert, Nhan D. Nguyen and Cynthia J. Hyde. It was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration, IRS-Criminal Investigation, the Missouri State Highway Patrol, the Springfield, Mo., Police Department and Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).