UPDATE: Billie Bruce was captured Friday, April 29. A motion has been filed with the district court to hold him in federal custody without bond until his trial.
A federal grand jury in Jefferson City has indicted 13 people, including eight mid-Missouri residents, for an alleged $6.6 million K2 conspiracy in Callaway County.
The 14-count indictment was returned under seal last week and was unsealed on Wednesday morning.
The eight mid-Missouri residents indicted by the federal grand jury include six Fulton residents: 36-year-old Jason Lee Houston, 25-year-old Shawn Michael Browning, 30-year-old Timothy Christopher Sandfort, 31-year-old Brandon Derek Rader, 30-year-old Joshua Adam Sheets and 30-year-old Dara Leanne Shirley. The grand jury also indicted 32-year-old Casey Dewayne Miller, of Columbia, and 36-year-old Billie L. Bruce, of Jefferson City. Of the 13 indicted, authorities are still searching Bruce.
On Friday, a judge ordered Houston, Sheets, and Miller to be held without bond.
The grand jury indicted five residents from the state of California for charges alleging they shipped K2 to local retail shops.
The indictment alleges that “hundreds of shipments” of synthetic marijuana were made to Callaway County. Federal prosecutors say synthetic marijuana was sold at Inscentives Resale, with one location in Auxvasse and two locations in Fulton; and S&J Smoke Shop, in Holts Summit.
“This particular investigation has gone on for several years,” said Sgt. Shannon Jeffries with the Callaway County Sheriff’s Department. “I can think back to four years ago when we started doing undercover purchases of synthetic cannabis from some of these businesses.”
Sgt. Jeffries said the number of businesses selling K2 in Callaway County quickly grew.
In July 2015, investigators raided three business in the county looking for the synthetic drug.
“We started to see the light at the end of the tunnel during those operations,” said Jeffries.
A criminal affidavit filed by federal prosecutors says “these retail establishments grossed approximately $6.6 million from the sale of approximately 799 kilograms of synthetic marijuana.”
Sgt. Jeffries said most of the businesses that were raided in the past few years have shut down and have not reopened. He said it’s had a positive impact on the community.
“When these businesses were in full operation it had a huge negative impact on the community. From traffic complaints to thefts to motor-vehicle accidents to now none of that exists.”
The federal indictment says Houston, Sandfort, Rader, Shirley and Miller controlled and operated First Stop Last Stop Pawn and Aromatherapy, Inscentives Resale and Inscentives Auto. The indictment alleges that, “at various times”, the three locations “all purchased synthetic cannabinoids” from four California residents named in the indictment.
Ledford says Browning, Sandfort, Rader, Sheets and Shirley are scheduled to make their initial court appearance Wednesday at the Christopher Bond Federal Courthouse in Jefferson City.