SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – A Springfield, Mo., woman and a Nixa, Mo., man were sentenced in federal court today for their roles in a conspiracy to distribute large quantities of methamphetamine in southwest Missouri.
Melody W. Carpenter, 35, of Springfield, and Anthony A. Hatfield, 34, of Nixa, were sentenced in separate appearances before U.S. District Judge M. Douglas Harpool. Carpenter and Hatfield were each sentenced to 10 years in federal prison without parole.
Beginning in 2012, the Drug Enforcement Administration, assisted by other agencies, investigated one of the largest methamphetamine distribution rings in southwest Missouri. The leaders of the drug-trafficking conspiracy were Kenneth R. Friend, 47, of Springfield, and Kenna Harmon, 39, of Republic, Mo., who obtained pound amounts of methamphetamine from sources in Kansas City, St. Louis, and Oklahoma for distribution in the Springfield area. The investigation resulted in the indictment of 29 co-defendants. In total, the Friend/Harmon drug-trafficking organization was responsible for the distribution of over 45 kilograms of methamphetamine from June 1, 2013, through Nov. 29, 2014.
Both Carpenter and Hatfield pleaded guilty to participating in the conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine. Carpenter and Hatfield admitted they purchased methamphetamine from Friend and Harmon, which they distributed to others.
On Nov. 3, 2014, officers intercepted communications between Friend and Carpenter in which Carpenter appeared to be brokering a large methamphetamine transaction for Friend. Officers followed Friend and Carpenter to a residence in Springfield, then followed Friend and Carpenter back to Friend's residence. A short time later, Carpenter left Friend's house, and was detained by DEA agents. Agents seized approximately four to six ounces of methamphetamine from Carpenter and a loaded Davies Industries .380-caliber semi-automatic pistol. Carpenter told investigators she had just brokered a two-pound methamphetamine transaction between Friend and another conspirator.
During the course of the wiretaps in this case, hundreds of communications were intercepted between Carpenter and others where she was arranging methamphetamine transactions or financial transactions involving the payment for methamphetamine. During the conspiracy, Carpenter received ounce amounts of methamphetamine at least once per week and redistributed them in the Springfield area.
On Nov. 17, 2014, the DEA intercepted calls between Friend and Hatfield indicating that Hatfield was arranging to purchase a half pound of methamphetamine from Friend. Officers saw Friend and Hatfield meet at Bass Pro Shops in Springfield. They arrived in separate vehicles and Hatfield was seen getting into the vehicle with Friend. After Hatfield got out and drove off in his own vehicle, he was stopped by Springfield police officers. Officers found a half pound of methamphetamine (approximately 225 grams) under his driver's seat.
During another intercepted telephone call, Harmon and Hatfield discussed Harmon’s child finding a Crown Royal bag that contained approximately one pound of methamphetamine inside of it, which Hatfield had left in the child’s bedroom. At one point during the conversation, Harmon put her child on the phone to talk with Hatfield. Harmon and Hatfield agreed to meet at the Wal-Mart parking lot in Republic so that Hatfield could receive some of the methamphetamine back. Hatfield stated he would buy presents for Harmon’s children to make up for what happened. Harmon said she would bring the children along with her to the Wal-Mart parking lot to meet Hatfield so he could give them the presents.
Friend pleaded guilty on April 11, 2018, and awaits sentencing. Harmon pleaded guilty and was sentenced on May 29, 2018, to 21 years and six months in federal prison without parole.
Harmon’s husband, Daniel Harmon, was also a leader of the drug-trafficking conspiracy. In December 2013, Daniel Harmon was stopped by law enforcement officers outside of St. Louis. During a search of his vehicle, officers discovered approximately four pounds of methamphetamine, $60,000 and a handgun. Daniel Harmon was indicted in the Eastern District of Missouri and pleaded guilty to possessing methamphetamine with the intent to distribute and to being a felon in possession of a firearm.
After Daniel Harmon’s arrest and incarceration, Kenna Harmon continued to lead the drug-trafficking organization in its distribution of methamphetamine.
Carpenter and Hatfield are among 21 co-defendants who have been sentenced in this case. The remaining eight defendants have pleaded guilty and await sentencing.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Randall D. Eggert, Nhan D. Nguyen and Cynthia J. Hyde. It was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration, IRS-Criminal Investigation, the Missouri State Highway Patrol, the Springfield, Mo., Police Department and Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).
Department of Justice
Office of the U.S. Attorney
Western District of Missouri