Woman Sentenced For Leading Massive Meth Ring In Missouri

By Kelly Burch 01/25/19

The woman's brother says their dad groomed them to become criminals as they were growing up. 

woman in handcuffs after being sentenced for leading meth ring

Last May, Kenna Harmon was sentenced to more than 21 years in prison after admitting to her role in leading one of the largest methamphetamine rings in Missouri’s history. But her life seemed destined for trouble long before that. 

"They had people, drug addicts coming in and out of the [house] 24 hours a day. People I wouldn't allow in my yard were in his house," Harmon's uncle said at her sentencing hearing, according to the Springfield News-Leader. The uncle tried to gain custody, but was not able to. Harmon’s brother said that he and his sister grew up with little parenting. 

"Our dad was not much of a father figure," Jeff Harmon said. "He was training us how to be criminals, to be point-blank with it. Every single person in my family has been to prison already, including myself.”

Kenna learned the lesson well, becoming one of the most prosperous drug dealers in the state. She even paid more than $300,000 in cash to build an elaborate stash house, where authorities later found guns, marijuana and meth. 

Beginning in her 20s, Harmon was charged with drug felonies but stayed out of prison, receiving probation instead. However, when she married her husband Daniel, who was also a drug dealer, the couple started pushing hundreds of pounds of meth throughout the state. 

In December of 2013 the couple was pulled over with meth, guns and cash in the car. Harmon leapt from the vehicle while her husband drove off. Although he was apprehended and held in jail, she escaped by foot. Rather than cutting back her empire after the close call, she began peddling even larger amounts of drugs in her husband’s absence.

She funneled hundreds of thousands of dollars through a tattoo shop in Branson, Missouri, hoping to keep law enforcement from following the cash. She kept some money to build her stash house and take a trip to Hawaii, all while being watched by federal agents. 

On Thanksgiving of 2014, agents listening to a wire tap heard Harmon make plans to meet another meth kingpin for a buy. They moved in, arresting both.

After spending months in jail and detoxing from meth, Harmon began cooperating with officials, her lawyer said. 

"She was heavily using methamphetamine to the point that she was in a fog for probably two or three months," the lawyer said. "She didn't understand... what was going on.”

When she read her case file she seemed remorseful, reportedly saying, “This is what I was doing to the people around here.”

Her biggest regret, however, was involving her son in a circle of crime, she said at her sentencing. 

"Most importantly, I want to mention how I failed my son. My uncle brought it up to me the other day whenever we were talking about our family life and he said, 'How's your son?,' and I just broke down because, you know, although I didn't beat my child, I didn't give him much of a better life than what was given me, and that's horrible."

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Kelly Burch writes about addiction and mental health issues, particularly as they affect families. Follow her on TwitterFacebook, and LinkedIn.