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Guilty Pleas in Major Missouri Meth Trafficking Conspiracy

MAY 10 (SPRINGFIELD, Mo.) –– James P. Shroba, Special Agent-in-Charge of the St. Louis Division announced that a California man pled guilty in federal court today to his role in a conspiracy to distribute large quantities of methamphetamine that was shipped from California to Springfield, Missouri.

Romulo Frank Delatorre, 36, of Downey, Calif., pled guilty before U.S. Magistrate Judge David P. Rush to the charge contained in a December 9, 2015, federal indictment. Co-defendants Michael E. Ford, 37, Lisa Renae Thompson, 39, and John R. Waits, 46, all of Springfield, have also pled guilty to their roles in the drug-trafficking conspiracy. Thompson was sentenced to 11 years and three months in federal prison without parole. Waits and Ford, who also pled guilty to possessing a firearm in furtherance of that drug-trafficking conspiracy have not been sentenced.

By pleading guilty today, Delatorre admitted that he participated in a conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine from June 1 through September 11, 2015. Delatorre shipped methamphetamine from California to Springfield in 2 1/2 pound increments to Thompson. Thompson picked up the packages at various hotels in the Springfield area then contacted Ford. Ford picked up the methamphetamine from Thompson and distributed it to others.

After a few days, Ford would then meet with Thompson and give her $10,800. Thompson kept $800 and sent $10,000 to Delatorre.

Thompson admitted that she received approximately 24 pounds of methamphetamine, which she gave to Ford. Thompson also kept some of the methamphetamine and sold it directly to others with the assistance of Waits. Waits sold methamphetamine to an undercover agent on several occasions in June and July 2015. He participated in the conspiracy for six weeks and is responsible for the distribution of 12 pounds of methamphetamine.

After Thompson was arrested on September 11, 2015, Ford began receiving methamphetamine shipments from Delatorre. On Sept. 30, 2015, the Springfield Police Department received a phone call from a FedEx employee about a suspicious package. Police officers delivered the 2.2-pound package of methamphetamine to Ford at a Springfield residence, where he was arrested. Ford had a Ruger .22-caliber handgun in his possession.



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