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Nearly two dozen added to Missouri marijuana-selling conspiracy

Lasso Circle homicide
ABC 17 News
Columbia police investigate at a home in the 1900 block of Lasso Circle. Augustus "Gus" Roberts was killed at his home on Dec. 11, 2017.

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (KMIZ)

Federal prosecutors have added 18 people to a wide-ranging case of marijuana sales that took place in Missouri.

A judge unsealed the indictment on Tuesday that expands the case tied to the 2017 killing of Augustus Roberts in the Old Hawthorne neighborhood. The 40-charge indictment adds people from Texas and California for allegedly distributing hundreds of pounds of marijuana for years and laundering millions of dollars made through its sale.

The federal case began with charges against Osama Yanis, the owner of Coffee Zone in Columbia. Federal and local authorities caught a package with several pounds of marijuana headed for his home in west Columbia. The case since then has slowly expanded to include other Boone County residents, including a former Missouri lobbyist. Some of the defendants have pleaded guilty to their roles in selling marijuana around the area.

Craig D. Smith Jr. of Medford, Oregon, remains at the center of the federal government's accusations. Smith is charged with 24 crimes, many of which claim he helped supply marijuana from Oregon to at least 15 states.

According to the indictment, Smith and another leader in the operation, Kurt Peterson, had couriers moving money across the country. The indictment also said they moved at least $20 million.

Several of the individuals delivering the money flew out of or into Kansas City.

The new indictment does not implicate anyone in Roberts' killing. The defendants come from several different states, including California, Missouri, Oregon, Arkansas, Iowa, Florida, Maryland and Massachusetts.

Check back for updates to this developing story and watch ABC 17 News at 9 and 10.

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Lucas Geisler

Lucas Geisler anchors the 5 p.m. show for ABC 17 News and reports on the latest news around mid-Missouri at 9 and 10 p.m.

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