Twenty-one individuals from Franklin and Jefferson counties were arrested Wednesday on charges that they were part of a methamphetamine manufacturing and distributing network operating from 2009 to 2011, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney's Office in St. Louis
The charges are part of an indictment that was returned on May 16 but remained sealed until Wednesday afternoon. Multiple law enforcement agencies participated in the arrests, including the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Franklin County Narcotics Enforcement Unit and the Kirkwood and Pacific City Police Departments.
"The arrest of these individuals signals our agency’s continuing commitment to eliminate the manufacture and distribution of methamphetamine, a problem which plagues many of our rural counties and poses a serious health risk to both the individual user as well as our environment." said James Shroba, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the DEA St. Louis Division in the news release.
Sgt. Jason Grellner, of the Franklin County Narcotics Unit, added, "The charges alleged in this case highlights the continuing problem of clandestine laboratories in Missouri." Grellner thanked state and local law enforcement, the DEA and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for their investigation and prosecution of this case.
- Jerry A. Hendrickson, 27, Franklin County.
- Jerry M. Walling, 48, Catawissa.
- Jason S. Sparks, 32, Villa Ridge.
- Dale M. Harris, 44, Pacific.
- Ethan M. Lepinski, 47, Pacific.
- William L. McKinney, 21, Pacific.
- Elaine M. Scroggs, 23, Pacific.
- Miranda J. Everhart, 21, Pacific.
- Aaron A. Lyerla, 33, Arnold.
- Larry R. Collier, 40, St. Clair.
- Tammy L. Busch, 41, Pacific.
- Andrea R. Dowling, 28, Villa Ridge.
- Michael S. Pich, 32, Villa Ridge.
- Michelle A. Sizemore, 37, Fenton.
- Ann L. Matchell, 47, Labadie.
- Shelly M. Peterman, 42, Villa Ridge.
- Douglas E. Hughes, 29, Pacific.
- Amy N. Bueker, 25, Pacific.
- Sarah A. Matchell, 23, Labadie.
- Eric E. Lyerla, 37, Pacific.
- Angela J. Holley, 33, Arnold.
If convicted, conspiracy to manufacture in excess of 50 grams of methamphetamine carries a penalty range of five to 40 years in prison; possession of pseudoephedrine with the intent to manufacture methamphetamine carries a maximum of 20 years in prison, according to the U.S. Attorney's news release. In determining the actual sentences, a judge is required to consider the U.S. sentencing guidelines, which provide recommended sentencing ranges.
As is always the case, charges set forth in an indictment are accusations and do not constitute proof of guilt. Every defendant is presumed to be innocent unless and until proven guilty.