Joplin man sentenced 24 years for Meth Trafficking

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – A Joplin, Mo., man was sentenced in federal court for his role in a conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine in Newton County, Mo.

Jason C. Russell, 34, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge M. Douglas Harpool to 24 years and four months in federal prison without parole.

On Nov. 17, 2021, Russell pleaded guilty to one count of participating in a conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine in Newton County from April 17, 2019, to Feb. 24, 2021.

Multiple law enforcement agencies were investigating Russell and had identified several messages on his Facebook account related to drug distribution going back to early 2019.

On Feb. 24, 2021, Russell and co-defendant Brittany J. Adcock, 30, of Springfield, Mo., were arrested when an officer with the Oklahoma Highway Patrol stopped a 2012 GMC Sierra pick-up in which they were passengers on Interstate 44 near Vinita, Oklahoma. According to court documents, Russell tried to convince the driver of the truck to flee from law enforcement, but he refused.

Officers searched the vehicle and found a large black bag in the back seat of the truck and a smaller bag in the front of the truck that contained a total of approximately two pounds of methamphetamine.

Adcock was sentenced on May 10 to 10 years in federal prison without parole after pleading guilty to the same charge.

Russell has a history of violent and drug-related crimes, according to court documents. In April 2018, he fled at speeds up to 130 miles an hour from an officer who tried to stop him because his motorcycle had no plates. In July 2019, he shared a video online of himself assaulting someone and threatening that person with a firearm. Russell also has two previous convictions for domestic assault in the second degree and another conviction for assault in the second degree.

This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Josephine L. Stockard. It was investigated by the FBI, the Ozarks Drug Enforcement Team, the Newton County, Mo., Sheriff’s Department, and the Oklahoma Highway Patrol.

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Charges filed against man in Joplin bank robbery

JOPLIN, Mo. – Charges were filed against a southwest Missouri man regarding the bank robbery on Tuesday at Great Southern Bank, 1232 S Range Line Road.

The robbery and investigation details regarding the defendant Vincent Gepson, 63, are outlined in the Criminal Complaint and Probable Cause Affidavit filed in the United States District Court, Western District of Missouri.

On or about May 9, 2022, within Jasper County, in the Western District of Missouri, the defendant, VINCENT GEPSON, by force, violence, and intimidation, did take from the person or presence of another, United States currency, belonging to and in the care, custody, control, management, and possession of Great Southern Bank, a bank whose deposits were then insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 2113(a).” – Criminal Complaint 

“On May 9, 2022, at approximately 10:00 a.m., the Great Southern Bank located at 1232 South Range Line Road, Joplin, Jasper County, Missouri, within the Western District of Missouri, was robbed by a then unknown subject (“UNSUB”). The UNSUB entered the bank and proceeded directly to the teller counter and demanded money. The UNSUB
informed the victim teller that he had a gun and for the teller to give him $1OO’s, $50’s and $20’s.


The victim teller complied with the UNSUB’s demand and handed over currency in control of the bank to the UNSUB. The UNSUB placed the money in a white plastic bag that the UNSUB produced from his back pocket. After obtaining the currency, the UNSUB departed the bank through the front door. Witnesses believed that the UNSUB departed in a dark colored sport utility vehicle.

Surveillance photographs obtained from Great Southern Bank security personnel showed the UNSUB to be a white male, wearing blue jeans and a long sleeved light blue t-shirt. The UNSUB was wearing a blue surgical mask and had sunglasses pushed up on his forehead. The UNSUB had a medical bandage on the left side of his neck. The UNSUB was heavily tattooed on his hands.

After receiving the surveillance photographs from Great Southern Bank, the Joplin Police Department placed photographs of the UNSUB on their Facebook page and requested assistance from the public in identifying the UNSUB.

Later in the morning of May 9, 2022, Joplin, Missouri, Police Department (JPD) Sergeant Luke Stahl received a telephone call from an individual who identified himself as Vincent Gepson. Gepson informed Sergeant Stahl that a bank robbery suspect’s photograph had been placed on JPD’s Facebook page. Gepson informed Sergeant Stahl that although the photograph looked like him, he had not robbed the bank. Gepson informed Sergeant Stahl that he had been in Pea Ridge, Arkansas at the time of the robbery. Gepson refused to meet with Sergeant Stahl to discuss the robbery and informed Sergeant Stahl that he would only speak with Anderson, Missouri, Police Department Detective Aaron Lemon.

After speaking with Gepson, Sergeant Stahl reviewed booking photographs of Gepson from previous arrests made by the JPD. The photographs reviewed by Sergeant Stahl were similar to the UNSUB depicted in the robbery surveillance photographs. Gepson’s booking photographs clearly showed that Gepson is heavily tattooed on his hands and arms. Gepson also has a tattoo on the left side of his neck. Your affiant believes that UNSUB who robbed the Great Southern Bank was wearing the medical bandage on the left side of his neck to cover a distinctive tattoo. Your Affiant compared the booking photographs with the robbery surveillance photographs specifically focusing on the tattoos located on Gepson’s hands. Your Affiant believes that the tattoos on the UNSUB who robbed the Great Southern Bank match the tattoos observed on Gepson’s booking photographs.

On May 9, 2022, your Affiant spoke with Anderson Police Department Detective Lemon. Detective Lemon informed your Affiant that he had spoken with a female employee of the Economic Security Agency in Anderson, Missouri. This female employee informed Detective Lemon that earlier in the morning of May 9, 2022, Gepson came into her office and asked for a facial mask. Gepson informed the female that he had a medical appointment and needed a mask to visit the medical office. The female employee stated that the mask she provided Gepson was similar to the mask worn by the UNSUB who robbed the Great Southern bank at approximately 10:00 a.m. Your Affiant knows that
Gepson wears a goatee and believes that Gepson requested a facial mask in order to hide this distinctive facial feature.

Detective Lemon informed your Affiant that he was aware that Gepson has had several surgeries on his legs and that Gepson walked with a distinct limp. Based on this
information, your Affiant obtained and reviewed surveillance video from the Great Southern Bank robbery on May 9, 2022. Your Affiant was able to see that the UNSUB
who robbed the bank walked with a distinctive limp as he entered the bank.

Later in the afternoon on May 9, 2022, the JPD received a call from R&R Tire Express in Webb City, Missouri. The calling employee stated that they believed that the individual who robbed the Great Southern bank earlier that day had been at their business and made a payment in cash. Based on this information, your Affiant met with R&R Tire Express employees and learned that at approximately 10:30 a.m., Gepson had visited the store and made a $212.05 cash payment on his account. R&R Tire Express is located approximately 2.3 miles from the Great Southern Bank.”

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Carthage man facing federal charges of child pornography, employer called authorities after discovering files on their network

CARTHAGE, Mo. – A Carthage man is behind bars, arrested by Federal Marshals earlier this week and the Criminal Complaint unsealed in the US District Court of Western Missouri reveals charges and details of the investigation.

Shane Barton, 55, is facing charges of Receiving and Distributing Child Pornography. Images were found on his work computers and cell phones dating back to as early as August of 2017 and as recent as the day it was discovered by his employer on January 5, 2022.

The IT department of H.E. Williams, 831 W Fairview, Carthage, Missouri, discovered a virus on Barton’s computer that was connected to the network on January 5, 2022. Upon closer examination the IT department believed they witnessed files that contained child pornography. Barton was immediately locked out of his computers on the network and the authorities were contacted.

Investigators arrived the following day to begin investigation.

The SWMo Cyber Crimes Task Force were granted a Federal Search Warrant on January 18, 2022. They conducted a preliminary forensic examination on Barton’s Apple iphone 13 Pro and his desktop computer.

The examination identified approximately 10,000 images and approximately 100 video files of suspected child pornography. [Investigators] identified children as young as infants, being sexually assaulted by adults. The suspected child pornography depicted the graphic display of children engaged in sexual acts with other children, as well as adults engaged in various sex acts with children.” – Probable Cause Affidavit

On January 21, 2022, Barton resigned his position from H.E. Williams. He turned in his laptop. An old iphoneX was located in Barton’s office. Both devices are suspected of containing child pornography after initial examination by cyber detectives.

Barton is being held on no bond in the Greene County jail. 

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