Three Cut Throat members plead guilty to federal charges

Tuesday, July 7, 2009 | 12:01 a.m. CDT

COLUMBIA — Three members of a violent Columbia gang involved with illegal narcotics trade pleaded guilty to a series of charges in federal court Monday.

William Ricky Boyd, 21, and Tarron Montez Cason, 26 , both of Columbia, and Michael Lee Stapleton, 23, of Fayette, each pleaded guilty in separate appearances to an April 3 indictment that contained 45 counts, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney of the Western District of Missouri.

Boyd, Cason and Stapleton are three of 16 suspected members of the Cut Throat gang  brought up on federal charges earlier this year for two drug-trafficking conspiracies that involved at least three drive-by shootings and other gun-related offenses.

Boyd pleaded guilty to his involvement in a May 31, 2008, drug-related drive-by shooting.

Cason pleaded guilty to his involvement in the conspiracy to distribute crack and powder cocaine. He also admitted he and the other conspirators trafficked more than a kilo of both types of the drug from 2007 until January 2008.

Stapleton pleaded guilty to his role in a conspiracy to aid and abet others to illegally possess firearms in furtherance of a major drug offense and also to possession with the intent to distribute crack cocaine.

Stapleton’s gun charges are also in relation to the May 31, 2008, drive-by shooting at the Petro Mart gas station near Falling Leaf Lane in Columbia.

Boyd, Cason and Stapleton are subject to a minimum mandatory sentence of 10 years in federal prison without parole to a maximum sentence of life without parole. Sentence hearings will be scheduled after investigations are conducted by the U.S. Probation Office.

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