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Ozarks city clerk laundered money for a Mexican drug organization

Harrison Keegan
Springfield News-Leader
Kristy Conn

Federal prosecutors say a drug trafficking organization with ties to Mexico was responsible for distributing 10 pounds of meth in the Springfield area.

According to prosecutors, the group relied on someone with a seemingly stellar reputation to help clean their ill-gotten money — Kristy Conn, the now-former Everton city clerk.

Conn, 46, pleaded guilty in November to conspiring to commit money laundering, and she was sentenced Wednesday to 10 years in federal prison at a hearing in front of Judge Doug Harpool.

Conn was not one of the 14 people originally indicted in connection with the drug case in June 2019, but her name came up as investigators continued to work the case.

The plea agreement says investigators first determined a woman named Ginger Huerta had been making numerous wire transfers — sending suspected drug money from Springfield to California or Mexico.

When law enforcement interviewed Huerta in September 2019, she allegedly said Conn was responsible for arranging roughly 90 percent of the wire transfers, which were often done at Leslie's Bakery in Springfield or various Walmarts in southern Missouri.

Sometimes Conn would send Huerta text messages with instructions, and other times she called in panic, saying money needed to be sent immediately, according to a plea agreement in the case.

Conn's attorney Dee Wampler said it was Conn's now-former husband, Cheyenne Conn, who got her involved in the drug trafficking conspiracy.

Cheyenne Conn, whose case is still pending, is the alleged leader of the drug ring.

Wampler said Kristy Conn did 200 hours of community service leading up to her sentencing and also completed a drug and alcohol rehab program. He said the former high school honor student served on the Everton Board of Aldermen before taking the city clerk job.

Kristy Conn, who faced up to 20 years in prison for this money laundering conviction, also has a pending drug charge in state court, although Wampler said he will be asking for that case to be dismissed.