SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — Kenneth R. Friend, 48, of Springfield, was sentenced to 27 years in U.S. Federal District Court by District Judge M. Douglas Harpool for his part in a multi-county methamphetamine ring that was deemed one of the largest methamphetamine distribution rings in southwest Missouri.
Friend pleaded guilty earlier this year in April on charges of conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine in Jasper, Greene, Polk, Christian, Laclede and Webster counties beginning in June of 2013 through Nov. 2014.
The multi-agency investigation resulted in the indictment of 29 defendants. Friend is among 28 defendants who have pleaded guilty in this case and have been sentenced.
Friend admitted the conspiracy was responsible for the distribution of more than 45 kilograms of methamphetamine. During the conspiracy, Friend obtained large amounts of methamphetamine from various sources, as well as, laundering money in the illegal endeavor.
At one point, Friend paid $20,000 for two pounds of methamphetamine, with intentions of purchasing another large quantity for distribution. During the execution of a federal warrant at a presumed supplier’s home, agents found $20,000 and over five pounds of methamphetamine.
Friend had another $34,310 in his possession at the time of his arrest, which was seized along with his 1992 Harley Davidson motorcycle. Friend will forfeit the motorcycle and cash to the government.