Springfield, Mo. -- A Springfield man pleaded guilty in federal court Wednesday to his role in a conspiracy to distribute large quantities of methamphetamine in southwest Missouri.
Kenneth R. Friend, 47, of Springfield, pleaded guilty to participating in the conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine in Greene, Polk, Christian, Jasper, Laclede, and Webster Counties from June 1, 2013, through Nov. 29, 2014.
Beginning in 2012, the Drug Enforcement Administration, assisted by other agencies, investigated one of the largest methamphetamine distribution rings in southwest Missouri. The investigation resulted in the indictment of 29 co-defendants.
During the conspiracy, Friend was responsible for the distribution of more than 45 kilograms of methamphetamine. He obtained large amounts of methamphetamine from various sources.
For example, Friend paid one source $20,000 in early November 2014 for two pounds of methamphetamine. Friend also intended to purchase a large amount of methamphetamine from one of his sources on Nov. 27, 2014. As part of the investigation, law enforcement officers arrested Friend, his then-girlfriend and one of his suppliers. During the execution of a federal search warrant at the supplier’s residence in Springfield, agents found approximately $20,000 and approximately five and a half pounds of methamphetamine. Friend admitted that he intended to purchase at least two of the five and a half pounds seized from this source of supply. Agents also seized $34,310 from Friend, which he had intended to use to purchase the two pounds of methamphetamine.
Friend is among 28 co-defendants who have pleaded guilty in this case; 18 of those defendants have been sentenced.
Under the terms of today’s plea agreement, Friend will be sentenced to 30 years in federal prison without parole. Friend must forfeit to the government $34,310 that was seized by law enforcement and a 1992 Harley Davidson motorcycle, which Friend used to distribute methamphetamine, and which he purchased with proceeds from the sale of methamphetamine. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the completion of a presentence investigation by the United States Probation Office.