Missouri U.S. Attorney Latest Victim of Biden Justice Department Trump Clear Out

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – United States Attorney Tim Garrison has submitted to President Biden his resignation as the chief federal law enforcement officer for the Western District of Missouri, effective Feb. 28, 2021.

“It has been the privilege of my career to lead the office where I began my service as a federal prosecutor 14 years ago,” Garrison said in his letter.  “The lawyers and staff of my office accomplished a great deal for the people of Missouri in the last three years … The dedicated public servants in this office represent the United States in criminal and civil matters with excellence and integrity, and I am grateful to have had the opportunity to serve alongside them.”

Garrison was appointed as the interim U.S. Attorney on Jan. 3, 2018, and began serving as U.S. Attorney for the district following unanimous confirmation by the Senate on April 26, 2018. Prior to that, he served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the district’s Springfield office. As a federal prosecutor, Garrison focused on large-scale interstate and international drug trafficking organizations and violent criminals. He also prosecuted firearms offenses, tax evasion, sex crimes, and illegal immigration.

“Western Missouri is consistently a national leader among the 94 U.S. Attorneys’ Offices in combatting violent crime, child exploitation, and drug trafficking,” Garrison said.  “I am particularly gratified by our work in Operation LeGend, in which we arrested more than 500 violent criminals in and around Kansas City and took hundreds of illegal firearms out of their hands, serving as a catalyst for similar state and federal collaboration in eight other American cities.”

Garrison led several initiatives to target violent crime, drug trafficking, and firearms offenses:

Operation LeGend

Operation LeGend brought an unprecedented surge of federal agents to Kansas City, Mo., to work collaboratively with the Kansas City Police Department and other local law enforcement agencies to address the increase in homicides and violent crime in the city. The operation honors the memory of four-year-old LeGend Taliferro, one of the youngest fatalities during a record-breaking year of homicides and shootings.

Operation LeGend, which became a model for eight more cities to follow, resulted in 518 arrests. During the 10 weeks from the announcement of Operation LeGend on July 8 through Sept. 16, homicides in Kansas City were down 22 percent, non-fatal shootings were down 24 percent, and aggravated assaults were down 44 percent, as compared to the 10 weeks before July 8. Among those arrests were 37 homicide cases (including a defendant charged in state court with the murder of LeGend Taliferro). In addition to the arrests, agents and officers seized 176 firearms, large quantities of illegal drugs, and several stolen vehicles during Operation LeGend.

OCDETF Strike Force

A new Kansas City Metro OCDETF Strike Force was launched in April 2019 to target drug traffickers and violent criminals on both sides of the state line. This new Strike Force presents a united front, with local, state, and federal law enforcement officers from Missouri and Kansas working under the same roof, armed with additional investigative resources, to combat drug trafficking and violent crime throughout the metropolitan area.

Operation Triple Beam

Operation Triple Beam, an initiative led by the U.S. Marshals Service to track down some of the metropolitan area’s most violent and persistent offenders, resulted in hundreds of arrests and the seizure of dozens of firearms and illegal drugs. Operation Triple Beam brought a laser focus by all levels of law enforcement – federal, state, and local – to combat violent crime by targeting the worst offenders. Armed and dangerous fugitives were located, arrested, and taken off the street to face justice in state and federal court. During Operation Triple Beam, which ran from May to August 2019, law enforcement officers made 355 state and federal arrests for outstanding warrants, violent crimes, and drugs. Many of the arrestees were among the most violent and active offenders in the Kansas City metropolitan area, and many of these fugitives had multiple outstanding warrants from more than one agency. Law enforcement officers seized 69 firearms, more than 2,000 rounds of ammunition, and 4.4 kilograms of illegal drugs, including methamphetamine, heroin, cocaine, and marijuana.

Additional Federal Prosecutors

In June 2018, the Department of Justice announced a dramatic step to increase resources to combat violent crime and drug trafficking. In the largest increase in decades, the Department of Justice allocated 311 new Assistant U.S. Attorneys to assist in priority areas. Among the 190 violent crime prosecutors were three new prosecutors being added to combat violent crime and drug trafficking in the Western District of Missouri. A new federal prosecutor was added to the staff in each of the Kansas City, Springfield and Jefferson City offices.

Safer Streets Initiative

Additional state prosecutors from the office of Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt have been designated as new Special Assistant U.S. Attorneys in Kansas City and Springfield to prosecute violent offenders in federal court.

Alongside these initiatives, some of the significant cases prosecuted under Garrison’s leadership in the Western District of Missouri included:

James Samuels, a former captain in the Kansas City, Missouri, Fire Department, was sentenced to six years in federal prison without parole for illegally selling dozens of firearms over a five-year period, and to selling firearms to convicted felons.

Raynal King, 27, and Howard R. Ross, III, both of Kansas City, Mo., were each sentenced to multiple life terms in federal prison for the kidnapping and murder of another man. King and Ross each were found guilty at trial of multiple counts related to the carjacking, kidnapping and murder of Jaime Patton.

Shannon R. Thomas of Kansas City, Missouri, was sentenced to life in federal prison without parole, followed by a consecutive sentence of 72 years in federal prison without parole, for his role in a three-months-long conspiracy that included more than 27 armed robberies, culminating in the armed robbery of a Walgreens in Blue Springs, Mo., in which a suspect was fatally shot by law enforcement officers. Thomas was found guilty at trial of participating in the conspiracy as well as participating in 10 armed robberies. He was also found guilty of 10 counts of brandishing a firearm in furtherance of a violent crime, and one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm. The life sentence was imposed for Thomas’s conviction of brandishing a firearm during the Walgreens robbery that resulted in the death of Jermon Seals. Several co-defendants have also been convicted and sentenced to lengthy prison terms in this case.

Two Kansas City, Kansas, men were sentenced for a violent, hours-long crime spree in which they kidnapped, robbed, and terrorized three women. Anthony B. Williams was sentenced to four consecutive terms of life in federal prison without parole. Jamerl M. Wortham was sentenced to 60 years in federal prison without parole. Williams was sentenced as an armed career criminal and “three strikes” violent felon, due to his prior felony convictions for crimes of violence. Williams and Wortham were found guilty at trial of conspiracy to commit kidnapping, three counts of kidnapping, one count of carjacking, one count of conspiracy to commit armed robbery, one count of attempted armed robbery, one count of distribution of PCP, three counts of possession of a short-barreled shotgun in furtherance of a crime of violence or drug trafficking crime, one count of being felons in possession of a firearm, one count of possession of an unregistered short-barreled shotgun, and one count of possession of a firearm with an obliterated serial number.

Zaragoza-Navarrette of El Paso, Texas, and Jose Luis Armendariz-Rascon of Kansas City, Kan., were among nine co-defendants convicted of their roles in a conspiracy that distributed more than 720 kilograms of cocaine in the metropolitan area. The drug-trafficking organization transported cocaine to the Kansas City metropolitan area from Mexico. Armendariz-Rascon admitted that he distributed 360 kilograms of cocaine per year in 2015 and 2016.

Jorge A. Rodriguez-Gonzalez, of Kansas City, Missouri, was charged with drug trafficking after investigators seized 144 pounds of methamphetamine hidden in automobile wheels inside his shed.

Jovan J. Denson, of Springfield, Missouri, was sentenced to 24 years and four months in federal prison without parole for leading a drug-trafficking organization that distributed as much as 10 kilograms of heroin in Greene County, Mo., over a 15-month time period.

Six Texas men were convicted and sentenced for stealing 654 firearms from United Parcel Service trailers in Springfield, Mo., en route to Bass Pro Shops.  They admitted they stole 600 Beretta .380-caliber handguns and 54 Beretta 12-gauge shotguns from United Parcel Service (UPS) trailers in Springfield in October 2017. The cargo was being shipped across state lines, from Beretta USA in Maryland to the state of Missouri. Raynord Hunt was sentenced to eight years and four months in federal prison without parole. Frank McChriston, Derrick White, Quinton Haywood, and Eric White were each sentenced to more than seven years in federal prison without parole. Keith Lowe was sentenced to six years in federal prison without parole. The court also ordered each of the defendants to pay $206,132 in restitution, for which they are jointly and severally liable.

Lester Brown, of Kansas City, Mo., was charged with using a GPS tracking device to assist in the murder of a rival drug trafficker who was fatally shot in front of his 8-year-old daughter.

In a case Garrison personally indicted prior to his appointment as United States Attorney, Yovanny Aroldo Mendivil-Balderama, a Mexican national, was sentenced to 50 years in federal prison without parole for his role in a drug-trafficking conspiracy that resulted in the murder of a co-conspirator. Co-defendant Brooke Danielle Beckley, of Nixa, Mo., was sentenced to 40 years in federal prison without parole. Co-defendant Anthony Edward Donovan, of Springfield, was sentenced to 35 years in federal prison without parole. Co-defendant Nathaniel Austin Lee, of Seymour, was sentenced to 15 years in federal prison without parole. They all pleaded guilty to participating in a conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine in Greene County, Dallas County, Webster County and Christian County, Mo., from April 28, 2015, to April 26, 2016. They also pleaded guilty to using a firearm in furtherance of a drug-trafficking crime, resulting in the murder of Oscar Adan Martinez-Gaxiola on April 25, 2016, in Webster County.

Paul Lloyd, of Joplin, Mo., was sentenced to 25 years in federal prison without parole for the armed robbery of Select Jewelers in Joplin and a carjacking. Lloyd pleaded guilty to one count of armed robbery, one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm, one count of discharging a firearm during a crime of violence and one count of transporting a stolen vehicle across state lines.

Derron D. Nevels, of Kansas City, Mo., was charged with the armed robbery of a female Z-Trip driver who was shot at least 20 times.

Tim Garrison

Garrison is an eighth generation Missourian, and grew up in Greene County.  He graduated magna cum laude from Drury University with a degree in political science, and holds a Master of Public Administration degree and a law degree from the University of Missouri.

Garrison received his officer’s commission after graduating from Marine Corps Officer Candidates School in 2003, and served as a military prosecutor.  His active duty military career took him to duty stations on the East Coast, West Coast, and Iraq.

In 2007, Garrison left active duty and returned with his family to Missouri, where he served as a federal prosecutor with the United States Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Missouri.  Garrison’s efforts focused on large-scale interstate and international drug trafficking organizations and violent criminals, but also included firearms offenses, tax evasion, sex crimes, and illegal immigration.  He served in the district’s Springfield office until his appointment as United States Attorney.

Since leaving active duty, Garrison has continued to serve in the Marine Corps Reserves.  In 2014, he deployed to Afghanistan’s Helmand Province as the Chief of Operational Law for an eight-nation multinational force.  Upon his return to the United States, Garrison worked on military criminal justice legislation and policy at Marine Corps Headquarters, and then served as Deputy Legal Counsel to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.  He is currently Associate Deputy General Counsel for International Affairs at the Department of Defense. Garrison is a distinguished graduate of both the Marine Corps’ Expeditionary Warfare School and Command and Staff College.  A lieutenant colonel, Garrison’s personal decorations include the Combat Action Ribbon, the Meritorious Service Medal, two Navy & Marine Corps Commendation Medals, and the Navy & Marine Corps Achievement Medal.

Garrison has received awards from the Army Judge Advocate General’s Legal Center and School for excellence in trial advocacy, and from the Missouri Bar Foundation for his appellate advocacy before the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit.