Independence Man Sentenced for Meth Conspiracy
May 18, 2017
Tom Larson, Acting United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that an Independence, Mo., man was sentenced in federal court today for his role in a conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine in Boone, Cooper, Lafayette and Jackson counties.
Joseph Nicko Winters, 45, of Independence, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Stephen R. Bough to 10 years in federal prison without parole.
On Dec. 15, 2016, Winters pleaded guilty to participating in a conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine, one count of distributing methamphetamine, one count of possessing methamphetamine with the intent to distribute, and one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm.
According to court documents, Winters sold an ounce of methamphetamine for $1,400 in a controlled drug buy on Jan. 12, 2016. Law enforcement officers then executed a search warrant at his residence, where they noticed a Hercules 12-gauge shotgun propped up against the bedroom wall. Winters also had a loaded Taurus 9mm pistol in a safe. Officers found several containers with a total of 137.661 grams of pure methamphetamine, as well as drug paraphernalia and approximately $1,200 of the buy money that had been used by a cooperating individual to purchase methamphetamine earlier in the day.
Winters told investigators he had purchased more than a pound of methamphetamine from his supplier two weeks earlier. He admitted he had purchased a half-pound of methamphetamine every week or week and a half for the past three to four months.
Under federal law, it is illegal for anyone who has been convicted of a felony to be in possession of any firearm or ammunition. Winters has prior felony convictions for possession of a controlled substance and distribution of a controlled substance.
Winters is the first defendant to be sentenced in this case. Co-defendants Douglas Marion Pryor, 55, of Columbia, Mo., and Matthew Allen Hampton, 35, of Franklin, Mo., each pleaded guilty to his role in the drug-trafficking conspiracy and awaits sentencing. Co-defendant Gregory Alan Kennedy, 53, of Boonville, Mo., pleaded guilty to possessing methamphetamine with the intent to distribute and awaits sentencing.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Lawrence E. Miller. It was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Missouri State Highway Patrol, the Cooper County, Mo., Sheriff’s Department, the Lafayette County, Mo., Sheriff’s Department, the Jackson County Drug Task Force and the East Central Drug Task Force.