The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Local News

June 20, 2011

Multistate meth ring target of federal indictments

JOPLIN, Mo. — A Joplin man, who claimed last year to have been kidnapped and held against his will, was indicted Monday by a federal grand jury, along with 13 other defendants, in an alleged drug-trafficking conspiracy involving two of his alleged abductors.

The U.S. attorney’s office for the Western District of Missouri said in a news release that Rick D. Prigg, 54, is charged in U.S. District Court in Springfield with participating in a money-laundering conspiracy, as well as the alleged conspiracy to distribute more than 500 grams of methamphetamine in Southwest Missouri between May 2010 and Jan. 25 of this year.

Prigg is accused of engaging in financial transactions that involved the proceeds of the illegal drug trafficking, according to the indictment. He also is charged with six counts of distributing meth in Jasper County, the federal prosecutor’s office said.

Others named in the conspiracy include Joplin residents Dennis R. Reid, 53, and Hector Ferrer-Chavez, 55, a citizen of Mexico, and Carthage residents Donald D. Simonds Jr., 37; Timothy L. Kent, 49; and Lori Kent, 49.

Also indicted were Darrell Thomason, 42, of Jasper; Harold E. Holland, 40, of Sarcoxie; Tony Raley, 41, of Wentworth; Noel Reyes-Garcia, 41, identified as a citizen of Mexico living in Arkansas; Iris Leticia Correa, 40, a citizen of Mexico living in Garland, Texas; Gerardo Antonio Garcia, a citizen of Mexico living in Springdale, Ark.; Jefferson White, 44, of Springdale; and Lyndsey M. Johnson, 32, of Rogers, Ark.

The 26-count indictment was returned by the federal grand jury in Springfield on June 14 and was kept under seal until Monday after the arrests and initial court appearances of the defendants.

Simonds and Thomason were charged last year in Jasper County Circuit Court with abducting Prigg from his home on Aug. 19 and taking him to a home on Cedar Road, east of Carthage. Prigg told investigators with the Jasper County Sheriff’s Department that he was tied to a chair in an outbuilding and held against his will until he was able to work himself free and escape.

A third man, Christopher B. Haskins, 25, also was charged with kidnapping. Those charges later were dropped when Prigg failed to show up to testify against the three at a preliminary hearing. Haskins was not named in the federal indictments announced Monday.

Besides the conspiracy count, Simonds and Thomason are charged with possessing meth with intent to distribute in Jasper County.

Ferrer-Chavez is charged with an additional count of possessing meth with intent to distribute and with illegally re-entering the U.S. after having been deported. Reid is facing an additional charge of attempting to destroy meth to prevent its seizure by law enforcement officers. The Kents are charged with making their apartment in Carthage available for storing the drug.

Raley is charged with four counts of distributing meth in Lawrence County. Correa is charged with two additional counts and White with three additional counts of using a telephone in drug trafficking.

Holland is charged with two additional counts of being a felon and an unlawful user of marijuana while in possession of firearms and ammunition. He allegedly possessed a revolver and ammunition on Nov. 9 of last year, and two shotguns, including a sawed-off shotgun, on Dec. 4.

The indictments carry forfeiture allegations that would require Ferrer-Chavez to forfeit $1,517 seized by officers to the federal government, and Holland to forfeit all firearms and ammunition seized by officers.


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