Dozens indicted for drug trafficking, prostitution in Columbia
COLUMBIA - The U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Missouri announced Thursday a grand jury indicted more than two dozen people after an investigation revealed a large-scale drug trafficking and prostitution operation in Boone County.
U.S. Attorney Tammy Dickinson said 27 individuals have been arrested in connection with the operation. The indictment said they were arrested for attempting to distribute cocaine and crack cocaine in Boone County. Fifteen of the defendants live in Columbia.
"This federal indictment dismantles a major drug-trafficking organization in Columbia," Dickinson said. "Today's operation not only disrupts the flow of cocaine and crack cocaine in the Columbia area but reduces the level of violence, the number of guns on the street and the prevalence of other crimes associated with illegal drugs."
The indictment said Christin Sledd, 24, is a former employee of the Boone County clerk's office. The indictment said Sledd told defendant Ryan Montez Kee, the father of her child, about the unfolding investigation in August after she learned of an imminent search warrant in the operation. The indictment said Kee then warned other members of the ring. Dickinson said without prior knowledge of the leak, law enforcement agents' lives and safety would have been in danger executing the search warrants.
The investigation involves many people and locations in Columbia and in surrounding areas. One of the locations involved is 4150 S. Lenoir St. in Columbia. The charges include 24 counts of possessing with the intent to distribute crack cocaine and five counts of possessing with the intent to distribute cocaine at two separate locations in Columbia.
The indictment said Courtnie Lea Goins, 25, is the only defendant not facing the charge of conspiracy to distribute crack cocaine. Goins, along with Malcom Desean Redmon and Ryan D. Wright, face prostitution conspiracy charges.
The indictment said Redmon established a prostitution business, separate from the drug conspiracy. It said Wright taught Redmon how to operate the prostitution business, as well as "lending him the services of Goins." The indictment said Redmon taught Wright how to illegally distribute narcotics in return for his help in establishing the prostitution conspiracy. The indictment said Redmon provided Goins a room, "protection and cocaine while she was working for him."
Federal agents arrested Redmon in August after executing a search warrant at 61 Sunshine Drive. A separate indictment said Redmon, 31, was charged with intent to distribute cocaine and conspiracy to distribute cocaine. He is currently awaiting trial on an assault charge. He is accused of assaulting a man in front of what used to be Boone Tavern, prior to a 2012 shooting there in downtown Columbia.
On Thursday morning, KOMU 8 News spoke with neighbors who said the neighborhood is typically quiet and doesn't see a lot of crime. Another neighbor told KOMU 8 News he has seen a lot of traffic coming to and leaving the home under investigation. He said he was not surprised to see police in the home Thursday morning.
The announcement came Thursday when a federal judge in the case unsealed the information, after the final suspect was in custody. The investigation was a joint law enforcement operation involving the Columbia Police Department, the Boone County Sheriff's Department, U.S. Marshals Service and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
The defendants are listed as: Kenneth Scott Sr., Malcom Desean Redmon, Guillermo Ortiz Perez, Marlon Dion Jordan, Rodney Wayne Arnold, Carl Douglass Simon, Ronald Elwood Brown, Ronnie Lee Gillette, Michael Earl Hunt, Jr., Dion Antonio Vaughn, Teka Lynn Hayes, Marcus Dion Jordan, Tyrone Dewayne Jackon, Travis Dewayne Dennis, Devon Cortez Hopkins, Paydrom Lee Summers, Gregory Vincent Dawson, William Alexander Hill, Courtney Lashea Thornton, Ryan D. Wright, Courtnie Lea Goins, Marlon Laron Smith, Vershawn Dejuan Edwards, James Thomas Pittman, Christin Sledd, Ryan Montez Kee, and Kenneth Scott Jr.
Read the full indictment here.
[Editor's note: This story has been updated to include the names of the defendants and more details about the charges they face. This story has also been updated to include additional information about defendant Malcom Desean Redmon.]