Local briefs 9/30/04

Thursday, September 30, 2004

Woman gets prison term for 2003 bank robbery

Southeast Missourian

An Obion, Tenn., woman was sentenced Wednesday in U.S. District Court for robbing the First National Bank of Miner, Mo., last November. Phyllis Ann Hester, 48, will serve 46 months on one felony count of bank robbery. At approximately 3:35 p.m., Nov. 20, 2003, Hester entered the Montgomery First National Bank of Miner and handed a handwritten note to a bank teller instructing the teller to keep her hands up where they could be seen. The note stated that Hester had a gun in her shirt and threatened, "if you want to go home tonight, then do as you are told." The note further directed the teller to fill up a bag and have the two tellers on either side of her to do the same. The note also warned, "Don't push any buttons! I know where you all live!" Hester fled with approximately $17,000 in a white Bonneville, and was stopped a few minutes later by Miner police officers. They recovered the stolen money, a BB pistol from under the driver's seat and the note.

Cape man pleads guilty to charges

Southeast Missourian

A Cape Girardeau man, Howard Smith Jr., 31, pleaded guilty Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Cape Girardeau to one felony count of distribution of five grams or more of cocaine base and one felony count of possession with the intent to distribute five grams or more of cocaine base.

On Aug. 5, 2002, Smith transferred a quantity of cocaine base in Cape Girardeau to an undercover officer for the Southeast Missouri Drug Task Force in exchange for $250.

On Aug. 14 of that year, Smith was a passenger in a vehicle stopped for a traffic violation in Cape Girardeau. He was discovered to have in his possession a plastic bag holding 5.3 grams of cocaine base that he intended to distribute before police seized it.

Smith will be sentenced Dec. 20. He faces a maximum sentence of life in prison and a $4 million fine on each count.

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