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Indicted Ozarks postmaster said he was "set up"

Mike Stubblefield, 49, is charged with conspiring to rob a convenience store in Eagle Rock, Mo.

July 29, 2012|by Mary Moloney, KSPR News reporter | mmoloney@kspr.com

CASSVILLE, Mo. -- Mike Stubblefield served as the Eagle Rock postmaster for six years.  The former military man started work for the United States Postal Service in 1994 and said he enjoyed the job.

"It's a job I love to do," said Stubblefield.

His postal service career came to a halt after his arrest for conspiracy.

"My reaction was shock, I suppose," he said, shrugging his shoulders.

According to court documents, Stubblefield enlisted two people to stage a robbery at Uncle Roy's Convenience Store. One was an employee of the store, who told police he provided information about cameras, closing operations, schedules, and other details to Stubblefield.

The two people Stubblefield allegedly conspired with went to the Barry County Sheriff's Office and told investigators about the plan.  The informants agreed to wear a wire and record Stubblefield. In two separate occasions, police heard the plot against the convenience store unfold.  The informant was fired from the store.  Police said the "staged robbery" transformed into a "take-over."  The meetings to discuss the details occurred at the post office and a restaurant. After investigators compiled tapes, federal agents became involved.

According to the FBI, the master plan was to set a tire on fire so police would respond to an apparent crash some distance away from the store.  Court documents indicate the informants and two others would take over the store and stash the money and other items in a mailbox only Stubblefield had access to.  The plan never came to fruition.

Read more about the charges, here.

On a family farm, Stubblefield told KSPR News, he doesn't dispute the existence of the recordings.

"Many of the things that's going on I did participate in, but not as what people have been led to believe," he said.

When asked if he was set up Stubblefield answered firmly.

"Yes, as far as the criminal side of it, yes."

Stubblefield believed he upset the wrong people with information on meth labs and murders in Barry County.

As far as the plans detailed in court papers, he said they were just conversations, not actions.

"I have said many things.  I was influenced to do it by the agents of the police, but I never took any actions to do those things," Stubblefield explained.  "This is America and I can say what I want and I did. And I didn't break any laws doing it.  I was very clear about that.  I never took any actions to do any of the things I said I was going to."

Stubblefield is charged with two counts of conspiracy, an offense that can lead to time behind bars.

"I think the maximum on both counts possibly 30 years," said Stubblefield.

The sentence doesn't scare him because in his mind, he did nothing wrong.

"I'm not guilty."

Stubblefield said he is still technically the postmaster of Eagle Rock and he is suspended from his post without pay.  When KSPR News spoke to postal service representatives, they told us he had been replaced.

Stubblefield's next hearing in federal court is scheduled for September.

KSPR News reached out to the Barry County Sheriff Friday about Stubblefield's case.  Sheriff Mick Epperly told KSPR he wouldn't comment on the case and noted that it's "an election year." Epperly did allude to "wild allegations" but wouldn't detail specifics.

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