KANSAS CITY, Mo. – A Raytown, Mo., man pleaded guilty in federal court today to his role in a nearly $10 million conspiracy to distribute almost 1,000 kilograms of methamphetamine.
Michael B. Becher, 40, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Greg Kays to participating in a conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine from Sept. 1, 2018, to Nov. 5, 2019.
By pleading guilty today, Becher admitted he was responsible for the distribution of at least 185 kilograms of methamphetamine. Becher also admitted that he purchased multiple pounds of methamphetamine on a daily basis.
Becher was arrested on Nov. 5, 2019, after he met a co-conspirator who was planning to travel on a private plane the same day to purchase 40 to 50 kilograms of methamphetamine in California. Becher paid his co-conspirator $1,000 to purchase methamphetamine. Law enforcement officers were conducting surveillance of the residence when they heard noises that sounded like firearms and people screaming. Officers entered the residence and arrested Becher and others.
Becher admitted that he had purchased 11 kilograms of methamphetamine from his co-conspirator in the prior two weeks, and had purchased two kilograms from a second source a week before his arrest. Becher paid $5,000 per kilogram for the methamphetamine and sold it for $6,300 per kilogram. Becher also admitted that in the past he had purchased four to five pounds of methamphetamine daily from a third source, and had once stolen 23 to 27 pounds of methamphetamine from that source. On one occasion, Becher said, he had more than 80 pounds of illegal drugs in his car.
Officers searched Becher’s BMW 650i and found approximately a half-pound (205.01 grams) of pure methamphetamine inside a grey backpack between the front seats of the vehicle. Becher told investigators the methamphetamine came from a fourth source, co-defendant Jesus Banuelos, Jr., 23, of Kansas City, Mo. Becher purchased one pound of methamphetamine from Banuelos the night before his arrest. Officers also found two plastic bags that contained a total of 1,547.06 grams of “imitation” methamphetamine, used as a cutting agent. Banuelos also has pleaded guilty and awaits sentencing.
Officers searched a storage unit Becher rented and found two M20 Super Bazooka rockets, an Anderson Manufacturing AM-15 5.56mm semi-automatic rifle with a magazine that contained 21 rounds of ammunition, a zip-lock bag that contained .1 gram of methamphetamine, and various rounds of ammunition.
Becher is among 15 defendants who have pleaded guilty in two separate indictments that resulted from this investigation.
Under the terms of today’s plea agreement, the government and Becher agree to a sentence of 20 years in federal prison without parole. Becher must also pay a money judgment not to exceed $9,961,839, representing all of the proceeds obtained as a result of the drug-trafficking conspiracy. The forfeiture is based on a conservative street price of $2,300 for 226 grams (a half-pound) of methamphetamine and the total conspiracy distribution of nearly 979 kilograms (978,859 grams) of methamphetamine. 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. Attorneys Bradley K. Kavanaugh and Sean T. Foley. It was investigated by the Kansas City, Mo., Police Department, the FBI, the Missouri State Highway Patrol, and the Mid-Missouri Drug Task Force.
Project Safe Neighborhoods
The U.S. Attorney’s Office is partnering with federal, state, and local law enforcement to specifically identify criminals responsible for significant violent crime in the Western District of Missouri. A centerpiece of this effort is Project Safe Neighborhoods, a program that brings together all levels of law enforcement to reduce violent crime and make neighborhoods safer for everyone. Project Safe Neighborhoods is an evidence-based program that identifies the most pressing violent crime problems in the community and develops comprehensive solutions to address them. As part of this strategy, Project Safe Neighborhoods focuses enforcement efforts on the most violent offenders and partners with locally based prevention and reentry programs for lasting reductions in crime.