by Don Ledford
Two more southern Missouri women pleaded guilty in federal court today to their roles in a conspiracy to distribute large amounts of methamphetamine in Springfield, Missouri.
Cassidy R. Clayton, 24, of Springfield, and Ginger L. Huerta, also known as Ginger L. Gray, 39, of Halfway, Missouri, pleaded guilty today in separate appearances before U.S. Magistrate Judge David P. Rush to participating in the drug-trafficking conspiracy from Nov. 22, 2016, to Sept. 26, 2018. Clayton and Huerta each also pleaded guilty to participating in a money-laundering conspiracy.
By pleading guilty today, Clayton and Huerta admitted they received methamphetamine directly from the same source, whom they said transported approximately 10 pounds of methamphetamine per week by vehicle from California to the Springfield area. Clayton and Huerta then distributed the methamphetamine to other mid-level dealers in the conspiracy. Clayton and Huerta also admitted they wired the proceeds of drug trafficking on to members of the drug-trafficking organization who resided in California and Mexico.
Clayton admitted that she received methamphetamine on approximately 10 occasions. On three of those occasions, she received a quarter pound, and the other times, she received less than four ounces. Clayton was arrested when she arrived at the location where law enforcement officers were executing a search warrant on Sept. 22, 2017. Inside Clayton’s purse, officers found .25 grams of methamphetamine inside a plastic bag, a glass methamphetamine pipe, three syringes loaded with an off-white liquid, and a loaded Kahr .40-caliber semi-automatic pistol.
Huerta admitted that she delivered approximately a quarter pound of methamphetamine per week from July to December 2017. Huerta was arrested following a traffic stop on Dec. 5, 2017. Officers searched her vehicle and found a digital scale containing methamphetamine residue, a metal pipe with burnt marijuana, a small open corner bag with methamphetamine residue, a bag containing methamphetamine residue inside a sunglasses case, and two .38-caliber revolvers inside the glove compartment. The firearms were identified as a Charter Arms .38-caliber revolver and a Taurus .38-caliber revolver with an obliterated serial number.
Clayton and Huerta are among seven defendants who have pleaded guilty in this case, including Lonnie J. Tinker, 33, and Laurie B. Holmes, 37, both of Springfield; Lloyd R. Bradley, 42, of Fordland, Missouri; Shelby R. Maupin, 31, of Ozark, Missouri; and Summerlee M. Barnett, also known as Summerlee M. Lacount, 33, of Salem, Missouri.
Under federal statutes, Clayton and Huerta 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. The maximum statutory sentence is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes, as the sentencing of the defendants will be determined by the court based on the advisory sentencing guidelines and other statutory factors. Sentencing hearings will be scheduled after the completion of presentence investigations by the United States Probation Office