Three More Indicted in Drug-trafficking Conspiracy
27 Defendants Charged in 112 Counts of Drug Trafficking, Illegal Firearms
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Three more defendants have been indicted as part of an investigation into an armed and violent drug-trafficking organization operating in the Kansas City, Mo., metropolitan area.
Anthony D. Harris, 40, and Latrell O. Dean, 19, both of Grandview, Mo., and Seville S. Gardner, 37, address unknown, were charged in a 112-count superseding indictment returned under seal by a federal grand jury on Tuesday, Jan. 24. The indictment, which was unsealed today following Gardner’s arrest, replaces an indictment returned on March 1, 2022, with three additional defendants and 28 additional counts. Dean was already in law enforcement custody on a separate, but related, matter.
In addition to Harris, Dean and Gardner, the superseding indictment retains 24 defendants charged in the original indictment: Kevin C. Cokes, also known as “Big K” and “Uncle,” 61, Mercedez M. Gardner, also known as “Twin,” 37, November D. Gardner, also known as “October” and “Nuttie,” 24, Idella Gardner, also known as “Lupi,” 35, Delmar L. Hatcher, 52, Nathaniel B. Chapple, 25, Treandre R. Walker, 25, Hazel M. Berymon, 65, Carlton L. Burns, also known as “Pooder,” 25, Christopher J. Hicks-Berry, 36, Kyeir C. Theus, 36, Tony L. Davis, 53, Michael R. Parks, 63, Brian T. Boxly, 46, Parris J. Walker, 28, Jachobette J. Gardner, 43, Reginald L. Mitchem, 43, Martell C. Cratch, 31, Matthew Rogers, 60, Gloria Hutchinson, 38, Eddie L. Nicholson, Jr., also known as “Junior,” 55, Toneisha R. Blackmon, 30, and Shania N. Bailey, 24, all of Kansas City, Mo., and Deone D. Gardner, also known as “Twin,” 29, of Belton, Mo.
Two defendants charged in the original indictment, Eliot E. Cox, 33, and Anthony D. Stuckey, 67, both of Kansas City, Mo., are omitted from this week’s superseding indictment as they already have pleaded guilty to charges contained in the original indictment.
Among the charges added to the superseding indictment is one count of conspiracy to tamper with a witness. November Gardner and Deone Gardner allegedly conspired to use physical force against an undercover agent with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to influence or prevent the undercover agent from testifying at their trial.
The superseding indictment alleges that 26 of the 27 defendants participated in a conspiracy to distribute cocaine, fentanyl, and marijuana in Jackson County. Cokes is charged with participating in a separate, but related, conspiracy to distribute cocaine.
Harris and Gardner are solely charged in the drug-trafficking conspiracy. Dean is also charged with one count of participating in a robbery conspiracy with Walker, one count of the armed robbery of a Dollar General store in Raytown, Mo., one count of the use of a firearm during a crime of violence (the Dollar General robbery), one count of possessing marijuana with the intent to distribute, and one count of possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug-trafficking crime. Dean allegedly possessed a Glock 9mm pistol in furtherance of the drug-trafficking conspiracy and in furtherance of the possession of marijuana with the intent to distribute.
In total, in addition to the two drug-trafficking conspiracy counts and the witness tampering conspiracy, various defendants are charged in two armed robbery conspiracy counts, three business robbery counts (two Family Dollar robberies in Kansas City and the Dollar General robbery in Raytown), 23 drug-trafficking counts, 30 counts related to illegally possessing firearms, one count of destroying a motor vehicle in a drive-by shooting, and 50 counts of illegally using a telephone to facilitate a drug-trafficking conspiracy.
According to court documents, the ATF began investigating an armed drug trafficking organization operating primarily in east Kansas City, Mo., in April 2021. Members are known to sell marijuana, crack cocaine, powder cocaine, purported ecstasy pills, purported Percocet pills (believed to be counterfeit pills made with fentanyl), and purported OxyContin pills. Members are known to carry firearms and commit acts of violence. Court documents allege the organization is connected to at least two shootings in which three victims were wounded.
As a result of that year-long investigation and subsequent indictment, more than 200 law enforcement officers from the ATF, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the U.S. Marshals Service, the Kansas City, Mo., Police Department and the Independence, Mo., Police Department participated in an operation on March 8 and 9, 2022, that led to the arrests of 25 of the defendants. Officers seized 27 firearms, 1,877 rounds of ammunition, more than 11.1 kilograms of marijuana, 300.9 grams of cocaine, 278.91 grams of other illegal drugs, and $34,439 in cash.
The charges contained in this indictment are simply accusations, and not evidence of guilt. Evidence supporting the charges must be presented to a federal trial jury, whose duty is to determine guilt or innocence.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Byron H. Black and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephanie C. Bradshaw. They were investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Kansas City, Mo., Police Department, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the U.S. Marshals Service, the Independence, Mo., Police Department, Missouri State Highway Patrol, the Buchanan County, Mo., Sheriff’s Department, the Johnson County, Kan., Sheriff’s Department and the St. Joseph, Mo., Police Department.
KC Metro Strike Force
This prosecution was brought as a part of the Department of Justice’s Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) Co-located Strike Forces Initiative, which provides for the establishment of permanent multi-agency task force teams that work side-by-side in the same location. This co-located model enables agents from different agencies to collaborate on intelligence-driven, multi-jurisdictional operations against a continuum of priority targets and their affiliate illicit financial networks. These prosecutor-led co-located Strike Forces capitalize on the synergy created through the long-term relationships that can be forged by agents, analysts, and prosecutors who remain together over time, and they epitomize the model that has proven most effective in combating organized crime. The principal mission of the OCDETF program is to identify, disrupt, and dismantle the most serious drug trafficking organizations, transnational criminal organizations, and money laundering organizations that present a significant threat to the public safety, economic, or national security of the United States.