Joplin Drug Dealer Plotted to Move 12 Pounds of Meth in Southwest Missouri

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – A Joplin, Missouri, man pleaded guilty in federal court today to his role in a drug-trafficking conspiracy that distributed at least 12 pounds of methamphetamine in the Joplin area, as well as to illegally possessing numerous firearms.

Mark E. Burdge, 50, pleaded guilty before U.S. Chief Magistrate Judge David P. Rush to one count of conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine, one count of possessing firearms in furtherance of a drug-trafficking crime, and one count of distributing methamphetamine on premises where children are present or reside.

By pleading guilty today, Burdge admitted that he participated in a conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine from May 9, 2018, to July 18, 2019. Burdge imported at least 12 pounds (approximately 5.4 kilograms) of methamphetamine into southwest Missouri from a source in Oklahoma.

On May 9, 2018, investigators with the Ozarks Drug Enforcement Team executed a search warrant at Burdge’s residence. Officers seized a total of 71.96 grams of methamphetamine and approximately $20,550 from a bedroom in the residence. Officers also searched an outbuilding and seized six rifles, five shotguns, four pistols, a revolver, a .22-caliber Magnum derringer, and 4,000 rounds of assorted ammunition.

On July 18, 2019, investigators executed a search warrant at Burdge’s residence, where they encountered a 10-year-old child among a number of individuals at the residence. Officers seized a total of 159.66 grams of methamphetamine and $24,300.

Under the terms of today’s plea agreement, Burdge must forfeit to the government $44,850 seized by law enforcement as the proceeds of drug trafficking.

Under federal statutes, Burdge is subject to a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years in federal prison without parole, up to a sentence of life in federal prison without parole. The maximum statutory sentence is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes, as the sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the court based on the advisory sentencing guidelines and other statutory factors. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the completion of a presentence investigation by the United States Probation Office.