KANSAS CITY, Mo. (CN) – A man was sentenced to 40 years in federal prison for his role in a $40 million methamphetamine ring. Duane Hankins, 43, of Oak Grove, is the seventh person to be sentenced in the conspiracy, which involved diverting pseudoephedrine and pseudoephedrine waste from a chemical plant.
Hankins pleaded guilty in January. Prosecutors said he had access to pseudoephedrine through his job.
Hankins, who worked for an environmental services contractor, was supposed to remove and dispose of pseudoephedrine, a primary chemical in meth, from a Kansas City chemical plant. The pseudoephedrine was unusable for pharmaceutical production, but it was still pharmaceutical grade powder.
A federal investigation began in 2007, after thieves broke into Sanofi Aventis in south Kansas City and stole a 110-pound drum of pharmaceutical pseudoephedrine powder.
Prosecutors said the investigation revealed that at least 1,000 pounds of pseudoephedrine waste had been diverted from the facility, and that the diversions had been going on for a decade.
They said Hankins and others admitted selling the pseudoephedrine for $3,000 to $10,000 a pound, and that the material could have been used to make as much as $40 million worth of meth.
Hankins is the seventh defendant to be sentenced in the case. Three other co-defendants have pleaded guilty and are awaiting sentencing. Hankins also was ordered to forfeit $135,000 and his residence.