El Dorado Springs Man Sentenced to 12 Years For SNAP Fraud, Meth Trafficking

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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – An El Dorado Springs, Missouri, man has been sentenced in federal court for his role in a conspiracy to sell methamphetamine in exchange for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits (commonly known as “food stamps”).

Bobby G. Johnson, Jr., 54, was sentenced by M. Douglas Harpool on Tuesday, March 10, to 12 years in federal prison without parole.

On July 18, 2019, Johnson pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, one count of possessing methamphetamine with the intent to distribute, and one count of possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug-trafficking crime. Co-defendant Melanie A. Person, 53, of Milo, Missouri, pleaded guilty on Oct. 1, 2019, and is scheduled to be sentenced on April 30, 2020.

Johnson and Person admitted they conspired to accept SNAP benefits in the form of electronic benefit transfer (EBT) cards and personal identification numbers (PIN) in exchange for methamphetamine.

Vernon County sheriff’s deputies executed a search warrant at Person’s residence on Aug. 7, 2018. In one bedroom, deputies found a Hi Point 9mm pistol in the top drawer of a dresser, 17 bags of methamphetamine in the bottom drawer of a dresser, a Wards Westernfield .22-caliber rifle in bedroom closet, and a clear bag that contained methamphetamine in the top drawer of another dresser. In another bedroom, deputies found a Savage Arms .220-caliber rifle and a box that contained approximately 750 rounds of ammunition. Deputies seized a total of 16.65 grams of methamphetamine from the residence.

Deputies also seized four SNAP EBT cards that were found in Person’s purse, which were issued to Johnson and three other persons. There were also receipts in Person’s purse from transactions completed using two additional SNAP EBT cards. Many of the transactions conducted with those SNAP EBT cards were at Walmart stores in Missouri, including the Walmart stores in Nevada and Raymore. Three of the individuals to whom those EBT cards were issued admitted that they exchanged their EBT cards and PINs for methamphetamine from Person.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Byron H. Black. It was investigated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Officer of Inspector General; the Vernon County, Mo., Sheriff’s Department; and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

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