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Two St. Joseph men are among eight defendants who have been indicted by a federal grand jury for their roles in a $4.1 million conspiracy to distribute more than 520 kilograms of methamphetamine.

Mark Williams Hildebrand II, 31, and Harry Richard Watson Jr., also known as “Ricky,” 35, of St. Joseph are charged in the case. Other defendants include Tina Marie Bailey, 36, and Martin Lee Williams, 58, both of Kansas City, Missouri; Derek Sean Freese, 53, Carl Dewey Williams, 47 and Angeliqua Teresa Collins, 35, all of Moberly, Missouri; and Joshua Lee Laws, 44, of Unionville, Missouri.

The federal indictment alleges that all eight defendants participated in a conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine from Jan. 1, 2017, to Feb. 22 of this year. The indictment also alleges that all eight defendants participated in a related money-laundering conspiracy.

The indictment also contains a forfeiture count, which would require the defendants to forfeit to the government $4,160,000, which allegedly was received in exchange for the unlawful distribution of more than 520 kilograms of methamphetamine, based on an average street price of $8,000 per kilogram. The defendants must also forfeit the firearms that were seized by law enforcement officers during the investigation.

The eight were charged in a five-count indictment returned under seal by a federal grand jury in Kansas City on Feb. 23. The indictment has been unsealed and made public following the arrests and initial court appearances of several defendants this week.

Collins, Laws and Watson were arrested Tuesday. Martin Williams was arrested on March 1. The remaining defendants already were detained in state custody in separate and unrelated cases.

The charges contained in this indictment are simply accusations, and not evidence of guilt. Evidence supporting the charges must be presented to a federal trial jury, whose duty is to determine guilt or innocence.

The case was investigated by the Kansas City Police Department, the FBI, the Buchanan County Sheriff’s Office, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Drug Enforcement Administration.

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