Food Stamp Crackdown Produces 11 Arrests in Missouri
WASHINGTON (AP) _ A crackdown on illegal use of food stamps has produced 11 arrests in southeast Missouri and indications that more can be expected, the Agriculture Department says.
The arrests began Tuesday but were not announced here until late Wednesday to allow the completion of undercover investigations, according to USDA’s inspector general, Robert W. Beuley.
Charges included buying food stamps for cash, exchanging property for food stamps, and mail theft, he said.
Undercover agents said they exchanged about $75,000 in food stamps for stolen weapons, sawed-off shotguns, narcotics, liquor, a late-model pickup truck, prescriptions for narcotics, and $20,000 in cash.
Beuley said that during the investigation agents also uncovered information that aided local law enforcement authorities in a drug-related homicide and the recovery of a substantial amount of marijuana.
He said those arrested included: Emma Hempstead, Egson, age not disclosed, Cape Girardeau; Robert Christopher Franck, 45, owner, Doniphan Recreation Center, Doniphan; and Lois Kirkland, 53, owner, Discount Furniture, Kennett.
Also arrested, all of Sikeston: Moses E. Boyd, 33,; Granville Goodman, 31; Jerry W. Helmes, 46; Robert Johnson, 40; Earl Gene Lott, 40; John Leroy Marks, 50; Jeffrey Lyn Triplett, 24; and Lloyd Gene Washington, 20.
Beuley said the investigation was conducted with the help of the Sikeston and Cape Girardeau police departments; the Ripley County and Duklin County sheriff’s offices; and federal agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.
The Missouri Highway Patrol assisted with the arrests, and the investigation was coordinated by Assistant U.S. Attorney Timothy Wilson, St. Louis, Mo., he said.