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Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
Western District of Missouri
For Immediate Release
Teresa A. Moore, United States Attorney
www.justice.gov/usao-wdmo
Wednesday, November 1, 2023

St. Joseph Man Sentenced for Heroin Conspiracy, Illegal Firearms

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A St. Joseph, Mo., man was sentenced in federal court today for his role in a conspiracy to distribute heroin and for illegally possessing firearms.

Franklin T. Hicks Jr., also known as “Frankie,” 43, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Greg Kays to 10 years and six months in federal prison without parole.

On May 31, 2022, Hicks pleaded guilty to participating in a conspiracy to distribute one kilogram or more of heroin in the St. Joseph area from Sept. 1, 2019, to March 26, 2021, and to two counts of possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug-trafficking crime.

According to court documents, Hicks is directly responsible for distributing at least 115.5 grams of heroin, which is over 1,150 potentially lethal, 0.1-gram “doses” of the drug, and was involved in a conspiracy that moved kilograms of heroin.

Hicks was arrested outside of a hotel in St. Joseph on Jan. 22, 2021. He was in possession of 35.8 grams of heroin and $2,687 in cash. Officers also found a loaded Rock Island Armory .380-caliber handgun under the driver’s seat of his car and a Ruger 9mm handgun in the glovebox.

Hicks is the third and final defendant to be sentenced in this case.

Co-defendant Roderick A. Hughes, 48, was sentenced on Oct. 10, to 17 years in federal prison without parole after pleading guilty to his role in the drug-trafficking conspiracy and to possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug-trafficking crime. According to court documents, Hughes is responsible for distributing at least 461.9 grams of heroin, which is over 4,600 potentially lethal, 0.1-gram “doses” of the drug.

Law enforcement officers executed a search warrant at Hughes’s apartment on Feb. 23, 2021. Officers found a silver revolver on the kitchen table. They also found a loaded Glock 9mm handgun on a nightstand in the bedroom, a Stoeger 9mm handgun and a Jennings Bryco 9mm handgun on a shelf in the bedroom, and a black safe under the bed that contained 23.4 grams of heroin and $4,703 in cash. Officers also searched the garage and found three plastic bags with a total of 96.3 grams of heroin hidden in the rafters.

Co-defendant Harvey E. Johnson, 50, of Kansas City, Mo., was sentenced on Oct. 26, to 12 years in federal prison without parole after pleading guilty to his role in the heroin-trafficking conspiracy. Johnson was in possession of approximately 51 grams of heroin when he was arrested on March 16, 2021, after fleeing from law enforcement officers in a high-speed car chase. According to court documents, Johnson is responsible for distributing at least 2.835 kilograms of heroin, which is over 28,000 potentially lethal, 0.1-gram “doses” of the drug.

Johnson was on state parole following his conviction on drug charges during his involvement in the drug-trafficking conspiracy.

This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Byron H. Black. It was investigated by the St. Joseph, Mo., Police Department, the Buchanan County, Mo., Sheriff’s Department, the Drug Enforcement Administration, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

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