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2 Springfield area men sentenced in drug trafficking conspiracy case

Federal Courthouse in Springfield, MO taken in March 2023
Michele Skalicky
Federal Courthouse in Springfield, MO taken in March 2023

The men — one from Springfield and one from Bois D'Arc — were sentenced Tuesday in federal court in Springfield.

Two men from southwest Missouri have been sentenced in federal prison for their roles in a conspiracy to distribute large amounts of methamphetamine in the Springfield area.

Thirty-nine-year-old Christian Roman of Springfield received 21 years and eight months in federal prison without parole and ordered to forfeit $143,000 to the government – his proceeds from the drug trafficking conspiracy, according to a news release from the U.S. Department of Justice. Forty-nine-year-old Nathan Ray of Bois D’Arc was sentenced to 13 years and four months in prison without parole and ordered to forfeit his proceeds from the conspiracy -- $42,291. The sentences were handed down on Tuesday.

Roman pleaded guilty on Oct. 4, 2022, to one count of conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine, one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering and one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm. Bay pleaded guilty on Sept. 6, 2022, to one count of conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine and one count of distributing methamphetamine.

During the federal investigation, law enforcement seized multiple kilograms of methamphetamine from various members of the drug-trafficking organization, the Justice Department said in the news release. Roman distributed multiple pounds of methamphetamine at a time to those below him in the drug hierarchy and collected drug proceeds. According to court documents, Roman supplied Bay with methamphetamine to distribute.

Roman also orchestrated sending large amounts of methamphetamine through the mail from California for distribution in Missouri, the Justice Department said. Roman admitted that he coordinated with a law enforcement confidential source to arrange for a package that contained more than 1.3 kilograms of pure methamphetamine -- concealed inside a fire extinguisher -- to be mailed to that source’s residence.

According to court documents, Roman also coordinated the distribution of and payment for multiple illegal drug sales across the U.S., including methamphetamine, fentanyl and marijuana. In February 2021, law enforcement intercepted communications wherein Roman coordinated the distribution of approximately 1,428 pounds of marijuana to a man in Wisconsin. That marijuana was seized by law enforcement.

Roman admitted that he participated in the drug-trafficking conspiracy from Oct. 1, 2019, to Feb. 19, 2021, according to the Justice Department. Roman also admitted that, during that time, he participated in a conspiracy to transfer funds from the U.S. to Mexico to promote the drug-trafficking conspiracy. Roman admitted that he made multiple large cash deposits into his checking account, which involved proceeds from the drug-trafficking conspiracy, then sent several wire transfers to Mexico, the Justice Department said.

Roman, who was on probation at the time of this offense, admitted that he was in possession of a Colt .38-caliber handgun on Feb. 19, 2021, the news release states. Under federal law, it is illegal for anyone who has been convicted of a felony to be in possession of any firearm or ammunition. Roman has a prior felony conviction for importing marijuana after he smuggled 38 kilograms of marijuana from Mexico into the U.S., according to the Justice Department. Roman also has prior felony convictions for concealing a firearm in a vehicle and taking a vehicle without consent.

Law enforcement officers executed a search warrant at Roman’s residence on February 19, 2021. Officers found numerous unused U.S. Postal Service boxes piled in the hallway closet, according to the news release. In the master bedroom, officers found a safe that contained expensive jewelry, $4,640 in cash and the Colt handgun. The firearm’s handgrips were covered in white stones with an emblem of two stacked traffic cones designed out of black, orange and white stones. The emblem matched a tattoo of two stacked traffic cones on the right side of Roman’s face. Officers also seized a Romarm/Cugir 7.62-caliber rifle, a German Sports Gun 9mm semi-automatic pistol, a Grand Power 9mm semi-automatic pistol and some ammunition from a storage unit.

Roman and Bay are among 11 defendants who have been sentenced in the case. Two co-defendants have pleaded guilty and await sentencing.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jessica Eatmon. It was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Missouri State Highway Patrol, the Springfield, Mo., Police Department, and the Greene County, Mo., Sheriff’s Department.

Michele Skalicky has worked at KSMU since the station occupied the old white house at National and Grand. She enjoys working on both the announcing side and in news and has been the recipient of statewide and national awards for news reporting. She likes to tell stories that make a difference. Michele enjoys outdoor activities, including hiking, camping and leisurely kayaking.