The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

October 25, 2012

Joplin man sentenced to 25 years for heroin


From staff reports

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — A Joplin man was sentenced in federal court today for his role in a conspiracy to distribute heroin, which resulted in the death of a 26-year-old Joplin man.

Lavar D. Beard, 34, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Richard E. Dorr to 25 years in federal prison without parole, according to David M. Ketchmark, acting U.S. attorney for the Western District of Missouri.

On July 2, Beard pleaded guilty to participating in a conspiracy to distribute heroin in Jasper County from June 2011 to September 2011. Beard also pleaded guilty to distributing heroin to Ryan Cockrell of Joplin on Aug. 19, 2011; Cockrell died as a result of using the heroin.

Beard obtained heroin from sources outside of Joplin, including St. Louis and Springfield, then transported the heroin to Joplin and the surrounding area for distribution to others. The amount of heroin distributed during the conspiracy was between 100 and 400 grams.

Beard also admitted that a Ruger .357-caliber revolver, a Raven Arms .25-caliber pistol and ammunition that he possessed were stolen property.

Two co-defendants, also from Joplin, have already been sentenced after pleading guilty to their roles in the heroin trafficking conspiracy. Brian D. Ferguson, 26, was sentenced on Oct. 18 to 30 months in federal prison without parole. Ashley Henson, 25, was sentenced on Oct. 18 to one year and one day in federal prison.

Two co-defendants, also from Joplin, have pleaded guilty to their roles in the heroin trafficking conspiracy and await sentencing. Haley J. Ferguson, 27, is scheduled to be sentenced on Oct. 26. Jason E. Hirshey, 32, is scheduled to be sentenced on Oct. 31.