Friday, February 7, 2020

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – A Lee’s Summit, Missouri, woman and her brother, a Denver, Colorado, man, were sentenced in federal court today for their roles in a conspiracy to distribute more than $1.7 million of marijuana that was mailed from Colorado to Missouri. 

Natalie J. McNeil, 34, and Tanner L. McNeil, 30, were sentenced in separate appearances before U.S. Chief District Judge Beth Phillips. Natalie McNeil was sentenced to four years and three months in federal prison without parole and ordered to forfeit $121,000 to the government. Tanner McNeil was sentenced to two years and six months in federal prison without parole and ordered to forfeit $1,033,788 to the government.

They are among five Missouri residents and two Colorado residents who have pleaded guilty and been sentenced in this case.

Tanner McNeil and co-defendant Benjamin T. Parker, 29, of Denver, shipped the marijuana to co-conspirators in Missouri for further distribution. The marijuana was shipped in sealed packages inside plastic protein containers, and each shipment usually contained between four to six pounds. A total of 121 packages (484 to 726 pounds of marijuana) were shipped during the conspiracy.

Natalie McNeil deposited cash in structured amounts (to avoid federal transaction reporting requirements) in the bank accounts of Tanner McNeil and Parker. The cash deposits were made in bank branches in Missouri then withdrawn shortly afterward by Tanner McNeil and Parker at bank branches in Colorado.

A total of $1,769,244 in deposits of drug proceeds were made in Missouri, with $1,033,788 being made into Tanner McNeil’s bank account and $735,456 being made into Parker’s bank account. Investigators determined that $1,295,063 of the deposited drug proceeds were withdrawn by Tanner McNeil and Parker in Colorado shortly after the deposits were made in Missouri.

This case was 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).

This case is part of the Department of Justice’s Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) program.  The OCDETF program is the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s drug supply reduction strategy.  OCDETF was established in 1982 to conduct comprehensive, multilevel attacks on major drug trafficking and money laundering organizations.  Today, OCDETF combines the resources and expertise of its member federal agencies in cooperation with state and local law enforcement.  The principal mission of the OCDETF program is to identify, disrupt, and dismantle the most serious drug trafficking organizations, transnational criminal organizations, and money laundering organizations that present a significant threat to the public safety, economic, or national security of the United States.