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SPRINGFIELD – Beth Phillips, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced Friday that a Springfield, man has been convicted of participating in a drug-trafficking conspiracy. The defendant, who recruited young women and teenage girls as part of what he called the “X family,” faces a mandatory life sentence for distributing heroin, cocaine, crack cocaine and marijuana in the Springfield area.
Claude X, 50, of Springfield, was found guilty on Thursday, July 15, of conspiracy to distribute heroin, cocaine, crack cocaine and marijuana in Greene County, from Jan. 9, 2007, to Oct. 29, 2008. In addition to the conspiracy, X was convicted of nine counts related to distributing drugs and two counts related to illegally possessing a firearm. X remains in federal custody.
Co-defendants Christina X, 23 (no relation to Claude X), and Aarika McKenzie Tracy, 30, have pleaded guilty to their roles in the conspiracy. Tracy was sentenced on June 17, to four years in federal prison without parole. Christina X, who has yet to be sentenced, faces a mandatory minimum penalty of 10 years in federal prison without parole, up to a sentence of life in federal prison without parole.
Evidence presented during the trial indicated that Claude X was the leader of an organization that earned hundreds of thousands of dollars distributing illegal drugs in the Springfield area.
Claude X recruited several young women and teenage girls, whom he manipulated and trained to sell drugs. Claude X referred to himself and these females as the “X family,” and both he and Christina X legally changed their names to X. After he was arrested, Claude X told Tracy in a recorded phone call from the Greene County Jail that she had finally earned the right to change her name to X as well, but that didn’t happen before she was arrested. Claude X stamped his ownership on most of these females with large tattoos that incorporated the letter X and/or nicknames he gave them.
Evidence was presented during the trial that Claude X maintained at least four apartments in Springfield and a house in Nixa, which were used to house the females he recruited. During a 10-month period from 2007-2008, Claude X also rented 116 nights at the Drury Inn & Suites in Springfield, where he spent over $10,000. The girls, including two who were teenagers and wards of the state, living in a regional girls shelter, testified that Claude X brought them to the Drury Inn for several days before moving them into an apartment from where they would sell his drugs.
Conspirators used safety deposit boxes at a Springfield bank to store the illegal drugs and the proceeds of the drug-trafficking conspiracy. They also purchased certificates of deposit with drug-trafficking profits.
Claude X was convicted of using a firearm during the drug-trafficking crimes and of being a felon in possession of a firearm. On June 13, 2008, Claude X was in possession of a Hi Point .380-caliber pistol.
Following the presentation of evidence, the jury in the U.S. District Court in Springfield deliberated approximately an hour and 20 minutes before returning the guilty verdict to U.S. District Judge Richard E. Dorr, ending a trial that began Monday, July 12.
Due to his prior drug-trafficking convictions, X is subject to a mandatory sentence of life in federal prison without parole. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the completion of a presentence investigation by the United States Probation Office.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Tim Garrison. It was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Drug Enforcement Administration, IRS-Criminal Investigation and the Springfield, Mo., Police Department.