DOJ Seal

Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
Western District of Missouri

For Immediate Release

Tuesday, August 31, 2021
Teresa A. Moore
, United States Attorney

Calloway County Man Pleads Guilty to Illegal Firearms, Marijuana

Operated Marijuana Grow Operation, Possessed Dozens of Firearms

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – An Auxvasse, Missouri, man pleaded guilty in federal court today to growing marijuana and illegally possessing dozens of firearms.

Darrin Dale Smithee, 55, pleaded guilty before U.S. Magistrate Judge Willie J. Epps Jr. to one count of manufacturing marijuana and one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm.

On Sept. 21, 2018, Callaway County sheriff’s deputies and members of the MUSTANG Task Force executed a search warrant at Smithee’s residence. Deputies located a room in the basement that contained two large industrial LED lights that ran off 1,000-watt amplifiers, several types of hoses used for ventilation, air filters, fertilizer and a water source. In the same room was a plastic tub containing marijuana stems, branches and leaves.

Also in the basement was a concrete bunker-type room with a bank vault-style door. Smithee used a combination and opened the vault door; officers found 66 firearms inside, including an S&S 12-gauge Street Sweeper, a Rohm .22-caliber rifle, a Smith & Wesson .357-caliber rifle, and a Norinco SKS .762/39 caliber rifle. Officers also found two small hard plastic children’s swimming pools, each of which contained several pounds of marijuana buds that were drying.

Officers searched Smithee’s bedroom and found a loaded pump action pistol grip Mossberg shotgun underneath a mattress. In the closet was a Ruger .22-caliber rifle with a loaded magazine. Officers also found several ounces of marijuana in a clear tub and in several sections of a dresser.

Officers saw marijuana plants during an aerial search of Smithee’s property. Officers then found 29 fully mature marijuana plants during a search of the field.

Under federal law, it is illegal for anyone who has been convicted of a felony to be in possession of any firearm or ammunition. Smithee has a prior felony conviction for violating an order of protection.

Under federal statutes, Smithee is subject to a sentence of up to 15 years in federal prison without parole. The maximum statutory sentence is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes, as the sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the court based on the advisory sentencing guidelines and other statutory factors. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the completion of a presentence investigation by the United States Probation Office.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Aaron M. Maness. It was investigated by the Callaway County, Mo., Sheriff’s Department, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the MUSTANG Task Force, the Mid-Missouri Drug Task Force, the Fulton, Mo., Police Department, the Missouri State Highway Patrol, and the Missouri National Guard Counter Drug Program.

Project Safe Neighborhoods

This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction efforts. PSN is an evidence-based program proven to be effective at reducing violent crime. Through PSN, a broad spectrum of stakeholders work together to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in the community and develop comprehensive solutions to address them. As part of this strategy, PSN focuses enforcement efforts on the most violent offenders and partners with locally based prevention and reentry programs for lasting reductions in crime.

Kansas City Field Division