Woman sentenced for drug-smuggling connection

Thursday, January 13, 2005

A Canadian woman involved in what federal authorities called the largest pseudoephedrine/methamphetamine case ever handled in the Eastern District of Missouri was sentenced Tuesday.

Krystina Randles, 36, of Mississauga, Ontario, Canada, was sentenced to 10 years in federal prison without parole. Upon her release, Randles will have to serve three years of supervised release. Randles pleaded guilty April 6 to conspiracy to unlawfully distribute pseudoephedrine knowing it would be used to manufacture methamphetamine.

Randles was one of seven people involved in an international organization that distributed pseudoephedrine to methamphetamine manufacturers in Missouri, Nevada and Oklahoma for a substantial profit. Randles sold the pseudoephedrine through a fictitious business in Canada named Yankee Distributing, inspiring investigators involved in the case to call it Operation Yankee Clipper.

According to the federal court, Operation Yankee Clipper yielded the seizure of more than 4 million pseudoephedrine pills (more than 1,500 pounds of pseudoephedrine) and the forfeiture of $1,059,310. Randles sometimes sent the pseudoephedrine pills through the Canadian postal service to customers in the United States, and her customers sometimes traveled to Canada to buy the pills. The customers subsequently smuggled the pills across the Canada-United States border into New York and Michigan, shipped the pills to themselves, and then sold them in convenience stores and tobacco shops they controlled.

Several Southeast Missouri men were also involved. Raymond Stewart Jr., 46, of Fisk, Mo., was sentenced to three years in prison and a $5,000 fine for conspiracy to unlawfully distribute pseudoephedrine knowing it would be used to manufacture meth. Stewart also forfeited $27,360.

Ronald Lunsford, 44, Kevin W. Waters, 29, and Peter D. Fister, 44, all of Poplar Bluff, Mo., were also sentenced. Lunsford was sentenced to 100 months and Waters to 140 months in prison. Both had been convicted of unlawful possession of pseudoephedrine knowing it would be used to manufacture meth. Fister, who also has an address of Mount Juliet, Tenn., was sentenced to 168 months for unlawful possession and one felony count of distribution of methamphetamine.

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