Poplar Bluff man gets 13 years on meth charges

Thursday, February 16, 2012

POPLAR BLUFF, Mo. -- A Poplar Bluff man was sentenced to 13 years in prison Tuesday for possessing methamphetamine with intentions of distributing it in Stoddard County.

Hershel B. Deaton, aka Hershel Huff, 57, was convicted in January by a Butler County jury of the Class B felony of possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute and Class C felony of possession of a chemical (pseudoephedrine) with intent to manufacture methamphet- amine.

Charged as a prior and persistent drug offender on the possession with intent to distribute charge, sentencing was taken out of the jury's hands and given to Presiding Circuit Judge Michael Pritchett.

After reviewing a sentencing assessment report completed by Probation & Parole, Pritchett reportedly sentenced Deaton to 13 years in the Missouri Department of Corrections on the B felony and seven years on the C felony. The the sentences were ordered to run concurrently.

"Because Mr. Deaton was charged as a prior and persistent drug offender, [he] will serve the entirety of his 13 years without the possibility of parole," Stoddard County Prosecuting Attorney Russ Oliver said in a press release.

Deaton also is on federal parole for possessing methamphetamine with intent to distribute.

"Given the fact that he will have to serve every day of his 13-year sentence, I was pleased with the outcome of this case," Oliver said. "From his criminal history, it is abundantly clear that [Deaton] has been cooking and dealing meth for a number of years."

Oliver said Deaton, through the manufacture and distribution of meth, has destroyed an untold number of lives.

"We can do nothing to undo the damage for those people [Deaton] has caused to become hooked on meth, but today we can be absolutely certain that there will be one less meth cook on the streets for the next 13 years," Oliver said.

During the trial, the jury reportedly heard evidence surrounding an Oct. 1, 2010, incident occurring in the City of Bloomfield.

The investigation, Oliver earlier said, was conducted by the Stoddard County Sheriff's Department and SEMO Drug Task Force and involved the utilization of a confidential informant (CI).

A transaction, Oliver said, was set up where the CI would provide Deaton with pseudoephedrine.

"In exchange for the pseudoephedrine, the CI was to receive methamphetamine," said Oliver.

When Deaton went to the home, the CI "provided him with the pseudoephedrine, and the defendant then provided [the CI] a cigarette pack," Oliver said.

Deaton, Oliver said, indicated to the CI there was a little more than a gram of methamphetamine in the cigarette pack.

When the task force officers went in to retrieve the meth after the transaction was over, "there was no methamphetamine in the cigarette pack," Oliver said.

The officers, he said, immediately stopped Deaton's vehicle.

"In his car was another cigarette pack, identical to the one given to the CI," Oliver said. "It was the state's theory at trial that he possessed the methamphetamine in the car, and he meant to give it to the CI, but he picked up the wrong one.

"That's why he was charged with possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute."

He also was charged with possessing the pseudoephedrine supplied by the CI, Oliver said.

Testimony at trial, Oliver said, indicated Deaton was coming back to Poplar Bluff to manufacture the pseudoephedrine into meth.

"For those who peddle these poisons, it is becoming abundantly clear that Stoddard County is not the place to do this anymore," Oliver said. "There are far more safer counties for them.

"This sentence shows that Stoddard County has become a very dangerous place for prior and persistent drug offenders to operate."

Pertinent address:

Bloomfield, Mo.

Poplar Bluff, Mo.

Map of pertinent addresses

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