Two Missouri residents and two Colorado residents have been indicted by a federal grand jury for their roles in a conspiracy to distribute more than $1.7 million of marijuana.
Christopher E. Buckingham, 42, of Versailles, Mo.; Natalie J. McNeil, 33, of Lee’s Summit, Mo.; her brother, Tanner L. McNeil, 28, of Denver, Colo.; and Benjamin T. Parker, 28, also of Denver, were charged in a two-count indictment returned under seal by a federal grand jury in Kansas City, Mo., on Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2018. That indictment was unsealed and made public today upon Buckingham’s arrest and initial court appearance. The remaining defendants are not yet in custody.
The federal indictment alleges that Buckingham, Natalie McNeil, Tanner McNeil and Parker participated in a conspiracy to distribute 100 kilograms or more of marijuana from Aug. 28, 2015, to July 10, 2018. The indictment also charges Buckingham, Natalie McNeil, Tanner McNeil and Parker with participating in a money-laundering conspiracy during that time.
According to the indictment, conspirators purchased marijuana from sources in Colorado and shipped the marijuana to Missouri for further distribution. Conspirators sold the marijuana in Missouri, the indictment says, and funneled the proceeds back to Colorado by making deposits in multiple bank accounts at different locations. Deposits were simultaneously made in amounts designed, at least in part, to avoid federal transaction reporting requirements, the indictment alleges. Co-conspirators then allegedly withdrew the drug proceeds from bank locations in Colorado.
Members of the conspiracy allegedly deposited approximately $1,769,244 in cash proceeds from the distribution of marijuana in Missouri in bank accounts located in Missouri. The federal indictment also contains a forfeiture allegation, which would require the defendants to forfeit to the government any property derived from the proceeds of the drug-trafficking or money-laundering conspiracies, including a money judgment of $1,769,244.
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. Attorneys Jess E. Michaelsen and Ashleigh A. Ragner. It was investigated by IRS-Criminal Investigation, the Kansas City, Mo., Police Department, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).