Two homicides linked to $8.5 million meth trafficking ring in KC and St. Louis

Two homicides last year have been linked to a large-scale methamphetamine trafficking ring based in Kansas City, according to federal authorities who have charged a dozen people in the alleged drug operation.

A search warrant affidavit filed in U.S. District Court describes the killing of James Hampton, whose body was found in the trunk of a burned-out stolen car last August in Lafayette County, Mo.

Two days later in Kansas City, 28-year-old Brittanie Broyles was found shot to death in the 6800 block of St. John Avenue.

Both Hampton and Broyles were associates of some of the 12 people now facing federal drug charges, according to the affidavit filed to support the search of a Kansas City house as part of the investigation.

No charges have been filed in the killings.

Members of the trafficking ring allegedly sold more than 1,000 pounds of methamphetamine and made $8.5 million in illegal proceeds, according to the charges filed in U.S. District Court in Kansas City.

Last July, the FBI in St. Louis began investigating an alleged dealer there but determined that his supplier was the Kansas City-based group allegedly headed by Trevor Scott Sparks.

In early August, Sparks and several others drove to St. Louis to look for a drug courier who was suspected of stealing a vehicle and $30,000 worth of methamphetamine from another member of the group.

When they couldn’t find the suspected thief, Sparks blamed Hampton, according to the allegations.

Hampton was taken to a residence near St. Louis, where he was tied to a chair and beaten with brass knuckles and kitchen pots, the affidavit alleges.

A few days later, on August 6, Hampton’s charred skeletal remains were found in the trunk of a burned Dodge Challenger near Bates City in rural Lafayette County.

During a search of the house, the FBI found two handguns and a set of dentures in a burn pit outside. Hampton was believed to have worn dentures and his body was found without teeth.

Broyles was found dead two days later. According to allegations in the affidavit, she was killed because she had witnessed the killing of Hampton.

The FBI made several undercover drug buys after that and in one transaction, Sparks described how someone had broken into a storage locker and stole several hundred firearms he had received in trade for drugs, the affidavit alleges.

In December, agents serving a search warrant at a house in the 5500 block of Smart Avenue found Sparks hiding in the attic.

Several firearms were found inside the house, which was equipped with a surveillance camera system.

On Dec. 20, a federal grand jury in Kansas City returned indictments against Sparks, 29, Gerald L. Ginnings, 39, Gloria May Jones, 29, Vicente Araujo, 22, Leslie Ladon Walker, 31, and Paul J. Kibodeaux, 35, all of Kansas City.; Markus Michael A. Patterson, 36, of Grandview; David Robert Richards II, 31, of Louisburg, Kan., and Christian Douglas Hansen, 39, of St. Louis. Also charged were Stephanie Thurmond, 28, Leeanna Michelle Schroeder, 25, and Adam Joseph Mainieri, 30, all of Winfield, Mo.

Sparks is charged with operating a continuing criminal enterprise. The other 11 defendants are all charged with conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine.

Tony Rizzo covers federal and state courts for The Kansas City Star, where he has been a reporter for more than 30 years. He is a Kansas City native and veteran of the U.S. Army.