The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

October 25, 2012

Joplin man sentenced to 25 years in heroin case

By Wally Kennedy
news@joplinglobe.com

JOPLIN, Mo. — A Joplin man was sentenced Thursday in federal court in Springfield for his role in a conspiracy to distribute heroin, resulting 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, according to authorities.

Beard obtained heroin from sources outside of Joplin, including St. Louis and Springfield, and transported the drug 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 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 other co-defendants, also from Joplin, have pleaded guilty to their roles in the conspiracy and await sentencing. Haley J. Ferguson, 27, is scheduled to be sentenced today. Jason E. Hirshey, 32, is scheduled to be sentenced on Wednesday.