Phelps County Man Pleads Guilty to Federal Methamphetamine Trafficking Charges
SEPT 10 -- St. Louis, MO: Douglas Braidlow pleaded guilty to federal methamphetamine trafficking charges, Acting United States Attorney Michael W. Reap announced today.
According to court proceedings, beginning in late 2005 or early 2006, Braidlow began receiving large quantities of methamphetamine at his home in Rolla, MO, through a man in Mexico. To avoid detection by law enforcement, the methamphetamine was wrapped with axle grease and plastic wrap and packaged in bundles and shipped in trucks and rental cars. Braidlow paid $12,000 and $16,000 for each pound of methamphetamine, and sold it to numerous individuals between 2006 and 2009.
In late 2006, co-defendant Dean Johnson started buying methamphetamine from Braidlow for $15,000 for each of the first two pounds and $18,000 thereafter. Braidlow eventually stopped dealing with him and starting moving the methamphetamine through Jimmy Dean Seest.
Seest sold methamphetamine to an undercover officer, and on January 25, 2009, the officer identified himself as an undercover officer. Seest agreed to speak with him about his involvement in the sale of methamphetamine.
Co-defendant Emmanuel Pavloudakis delivered methamphetamine to Braidlow during December 2008. Pavloudakis drove a rental car from California to Rolla and was paid more than $2,000 by Braidlow. In January 2009, Pavloudakis and Daniel Lua drove methamphetamine from California with the intent to deliver it to Braidlow in Rolla. On January 7, 2009, the car was stopped by the Oklahoma Highway Patrol and 3.9 kilograms of methamphetamine was seized from the spare tire of the rental car. Pavloudakis told the officers that he was delivering the methamphetamine to "Doug" in Rolla, MO. Pavloudakis said that he was told that "Doug" would pay him and Lua $2500 for making the trip. Pavloudakis and Lua agreed to participate with law enforcement in the delivery of the methamphetamine, and accompanied DEA agents to Rolla. Pavloudakis placed a call to Braidlow and said that he had gotten a flat tire. Braidlow was taken into custody when he arrived at the car. Agents seized 3.9 kilograms of methamphetamine and $2500.
On February 5, 2009, an indictment was filed against Braidlow, Pavloudakis, Lua, and Seest, charging each with one count of conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine. Braidlow was provided with documents in the case which included the statements made by Seest to the undercover officer. On March 18, 2009, a hearing was held regarding the revocation of Braidlow's bond. During the hearing, a law enforcement agent testified that a confidential informant had gone to Braidlow's home and purchased approximately three grams of methamphetamine. While the confidential informants name was not mentioned during the hearing, Braidlow told people that he knew who it was. Braidlow's bond was revoked.
In March 2009, Braidlow wrote a letter to his father and instructed him to take his phones and chargers and give them to Todd Busque to call a man by the name of Andrade, who lived in Mexico. He instructed his father to have Busque pick Andrade up in California so that he could “take care of” the informant for ten thousand dollars. He said that if Busque could not pick him up, that his father should find someone else to do it. Roy Cameron and Busque spoke with each other on the phone and was told that the informant had set Braidlow up on a drug deal and that he wanted him “taken out.” Busque told Roy Cameron where the informant was living and information about his daily activities. Busque also told Roy Cameron that he would pay half of Braidlow's money prior to the hit and half of the money on completion. After the telephone conversation, Roy Cameron said he spoke with Andrade and they began looking for someone to kill the informant. Roy Cameron was unable to find someone who would be willing to do it for less than $75,000. Roy Cameron called his mother, Elsie Cameron, who spoke with Lloyd Braidlow. Lloyd Braidlow said that was too much. At some point during April or May 2009, Roy Cameron’s mother, Elsie Cameron, told him that Jimmy Seest was now the person that needed to be killed.
Roy Cameron and Andrade left Mexico and attempted to come back into the United States. Both of them were arrested at the border. On June 12, 2009, Roy Cameron mailed a letter to Elsie Cameron from a jail in San Diego saying that he hoped to get out and talk to Busque and Lloyd Braidlow so that they could pay him for "the job at hand with Jim Seest." Roy Cameron was transported form San Diego to the Lincoln County Jail in Missouri around the same time. Braidlow found out that he was in the same jail and sent him a letter and told him that it wasn’t just the informant, that it was Seest that had been talking to investigators. Roy Cameron later told investigators that the letters exchanged between he and Braidlow were all part of the scheme to murder Seest.
Braidlow, 50, Doolittle, MO, pleaded guilty to one felony count of conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute methamphetamine and marijuana and one count of conspiracy to tamper with a witness by attempted murder. He appeared before United States District Judge E. Richard Webber, in St. Louis.
He now faces a penalty of ten years to life in prison and/or fines up to $4,000,000, when he is sentenced on December 2, 2009.
Additionally, he pleaded to a forfeiture count, which will require the forfeiture of proceeds derived from the illegal activity. Items subject to forfeiture includes a money judgment in the amount of nine hundred thousand dollars ($900,000). Property subject to forfeiture is $2,500 cash seized from Braidlow on January 8, 2009, $25,000 seized on September 3, 2009, and real estate in Phelps County owned by Douglas Braidlow.
Co-defendants Jimmy Dean Seest, 48, Rolla, MO; Daniel Lua, 28, Palm Desert, CA; and Emmanuel Pavloudakis, 34, Indio, CA, have all pleaded guilty to related charges and await sentencing on October 1, 2009. Co-conspirators Roy Cameron, Elsie Cameron, and Todd Busque are charged in a separate indictment with conspiracy to tamper with a witness and additional related charges.
Reap commended the work on the case by the South Central Drug Task Force, the U.S. Forest Service, Lincoln County Sheriff's Department, Phelps County Sheriff’s Department, the Rolla Police Department, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives; and Assistant United States Attorney Jeannette Graviss, who is handling the case for the U.S. Attorney’s Office.