CAPE GIRARDEAU - A Stoddard County farmer faces a possible 20-year sentence after pleading guilty to drug-related charges.
David Jackson, 48, of Stoddard County entered a plea of guilty to one felony count of possession of a List I chemical (pseudoephedrine), knowing it would be used to manufacture a controlled substance (methamphetamine). Jackson appeared before U.S. District Judge E. Richard Webber on Monday.
According to documents filed in the case, earlier this year, law enforcement officers contacted an individual who knew Jackson and who was willing to attempt to receive anhydrous ammonia from Jackson. Anhydrous ammonia, which is a chemical used to fertilize crops, is also used in the methamphetamine manufacturing process.
With his plea, Jackson admitted that on several occasions between Feb. 1 and Feb. 25, he spoke with a confidential informant on the telephone and ultimately agreed to provide a tank of anhydrous ammonia and an "eight ball" (3.5 grams) of methamphetamine to the informant in exchange for 3,000 60-milligram strength pseudoephedrine pills. The transaction was to take place at Jackson's residence in Stoddard County.
When the confidential informant arrived at Jackson's home on Feb. 25, the suspect told the informant that the anhydrous ammonia was in a tank in the bed of his truck, which was parked on his property. He then instructed the informant to place the pseudoephedrine pills in the cab of the truck. The informant did as he was instructed by Jackson and then left the residence. Jackson did not provide any meth to the informant.
After the informant left the area, law enforcement officials observed Jackson walk out to the truck, remove the pills from the cab and carry the pills into his home. Shortly thereafter, a search warrant was executed at the residence, where the pseudoephedrine pills were found hidden under a couch cushion.
Jackson was in possession of 180 grams of pure pseudoephedrine. The suspect indicated he believed the pseudoephedrine would be used to manufacture methamphetamine, and that he intended to provide the pseudoephedrine pills to a person who would manufacture the meth. Jackson had told the informant he would give him an "eight ball" of meth after the methamphetamine was manufactured.
Jackson now faces a maximum of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, with the court imposing a period of supervised release of not more than three years.
"The fight against methamphetamine is not only against the manufacturers and distributors, but it also involves individuals who make the precursor chemicals more readily available," said Raymond W. Gruender, U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Missouri, "in this case, a farmer who was willing to trade anhydrous ammonia." Gruender said the federal statutes provide criminal penalties for individuals who possess or distribute anhydrous ammonia, pseudoephedrine and other chemicals, knowing the chemical will be used to manufacture meth.
This case was worked by the Drug Enforcement Administration, SEMO Drug Task Force and the Stoddard County Sheriff's Department.