KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Federal prosecutors say that 11 people have been indicted by a grand jury in connection to a drug-trafficking conspiracy that resulted in a triple homicide in an Independence home.
Kevin M. Finley, also known as “Tubbs,” 33, Antonio Cervantes, III, also known as “Taz,” 32, and Bobbi Jo Phillips, 37, all of Independence; Raul Soto, also known as “Choch,” 22, of Kansas City, Kan.; Carlos Zambrano, Jr., also known as “Los,” 27, Paula K. Deardorff, 31, Martin Medrano, 22, and Amber R. Hart, 26, all of Kansas City, Mo.; Clayton J. Deardorff, 34, of Columbia, Mo., and Ryan J. Clayton, 30, and Stephanie K. Allinder, 30, addresses unknown, were charged in a 14-count indictment returned by a federal grand jury on Tuesday.
Federal prosecutors say that as a result of the federal indictment, related state charges against several of the defendants will be dismissed once they are transferred into federal custody.
This afternoon, Cervantes, Finley, Phillips, Soto and Zambrano all appeared in court via video conferencing and all five had their cases continued until January.
“Federal statutes are uniquely designed to target large-scale drug-trafficking conspiracies,” said acting U.S. Attorney David Ketchmark in a statement released on Wednesday. “By bringing this case into federal court, we will mount a comprehensive prosecution of all of the defendants, bringing them to trial together under one charging document. After discussing this case with Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker, we agree that federal charges are more appropriate.”
Federal prosecutors allege that Finley, Soto, Cervantes, Zambrano and Phillips participated in a conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine, and that on November 16, the five attempted to rob an Independence home of a large quantity of meth and cash.
The robbery attempt ended with the murders of Maria Hernandez, her son, Antonio Hernandez, and her boyfriend, Martin Dominguez-Gregorio.
The Department of Justice has not yet decided if they will seek the death penalty against Finley and Soto in this case. The two are eligible for the death penalty due to additional charges against them, specifically aiding and abetting each other to discharge a firearm and wounding Miguel Hernandez, Maria Hernandez’s 12–year-old son.
Under federal law, the penalty for this violation is mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in federal prison without parole, to be served consecutively to any other sentence.
Finley is also charged with two counts of being a felon in possession of a firearm. Finley was allegedly in possession of a Mac-10 9mm pistol on Nov. 16, 2012, and a Lorcin 9mm pistol on Nov. 17, 2012.
Zambrano and Cervantes were also charged with one count each of being a felon in possession of a firearm. Zambrano and Cervantes were each allegedly in possession of a Mac-10 9mm pistol on Nov. 16, 2012.
Paula Deardorff, Hart, Clayton, Medrano and Allinder were each charged with assisting co-defendants by receiving and disposing of evidence in order to hinder and prevent their trial and punishment. Clayton Deardorff was charged with concealing what he knew about the drug-trafficking conspiracy and murders.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Charles E. Ambrose. Ketchmark says he believes the suspects will be taken into federal custody in a matter of days.