Monett Man Sentenced for Drug Trafficking

by: Chris Six, Ozarks First

A man from Monett was sentenced in federal court Thursday for distributing more than 20 pounds of meth in southwest Missouri.

According to a press release from the United States Attorney’s office for the Western District of Missouri, 54-year-old Eric Akins was sentenced to 12 years in prison without parole.

Earlier this year, Akins pleaded guilty to distributing meth in Greene, Barry, Lawrence, and Howell Counties from May 10 to Dec. 19, 2018. Investigators found the meth involved was of high purity, some as much as 99 percent pure.

Court records say in August of 2018, officers searched a storage shed owned by Akins. They found a backpack that contained a total of 134.06 grams of meth. Akins bragged to investigators that he was distributing meth to “half the town.”

During this investigation, Akins was on state probation after his fifth conviction for possessing a controlled substance; he also has prior felony convictions for burglary, forgery, non-support, stealing, and distribution of a controlled substance.

Akins is one of five sentenced in this investigation. The release states, four co-defendants also have pleaded guilty to their roles in the drug-trafficking conspiracy.

The others involved were:

  • Damian Arreola-Chico of Purdy
    • He was sentenced to 20 years
  • Maleana Lee Willhite of Verona
    • Sentenced to 12 years
  • Michael Eugene Handshy of Billings
    • Sentenced to 10 years
  • Michael Shae Rhoads of Monett
    • Sentenced to six years


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