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A federal grand jury has indicted 11 Missouri residents for drug possession, drug possession with the intent to distribute, and conspiracy to distribute drugs. The 22-count indictment was handed down on Dec. 12 and unsealed on Jan. 13 after the suspects were taken into custody. According to the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Western District of Missouri, the suspects conspired to distribute approximately 10 kilograms of heroin and 150 kilograms of methamphetamine worth about $1.7 million between January 2017 and December 2019.

The individuals taken into custody also face weapons charges and have been accused of conspiring to launder money. Police officers and federal agents seized 77 firearms during the investigation. Initial reports reveal that 69 of the guns were found in the Kansas City home of a 30-year-old man who has been linked to two shootings.

According to a Kansas City Police Department report, the man fled the scene when officers attempted to pull his vehicle over in a convenience store parking lot. During the ensuing pursuit, the man is said to have driven against the flow of traffic. Police later found him hiding inside a dumpster. Police say that a backpack he discarded contained more than 250 grams of methamphetamine, 48 grams of cocaine and 10 grams of marijuana.

Federal narcotics defendants who are convicted after a trial are often sent to prison for decades or even life, but most of these cases are resolved at the negotiating table. U.S. attorneys are scrutinized based on their conviction rates, and they may make generous sentencing offers to avoid a trial and ensure a successful outcome. Experienced criminal defense attorneys could encourage U.S. attorneys to adopt a more lenient position by raising questions about the behavior of the police officers and federal agents involved or pointing out mitigating factors that could explain their client's behavior.

Source: U.S. Attorney's Office for the Western District of Missouri, "Eleven Area Residents Indicted for $1.7 Million Meth, Heroin Conspiracy, Numerous Firearms", Press release, Jan. 13, 2020.

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