MULTIPLE DEFENDANTS ARRESTED IN DRUG CONSPIRACY IN ST. LOUIS AND CALIFORNIA
DISMANTLING HEROIN TRAFFICKING ORGANIZATION
Asa Hutchinson, Administrator, Drug Enforcement Administration; Ray Gruender, United States Attorney, Eastern District of Missouri; Joseph Corcoran, Special Agent in Charge, DEA St. Louis Division; Joseph Mokwa, Chief, St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department; and Ron Battelle, Chief, St. Louis County Police Department announced today the dismantling of a violent multi-national heroin trafficking organization operating in St. Louis, Missouri and Los Angeles, California, Fort Worth, Texas and Mexico.
At approximately 6:00 AM, Central Time, as a result of a long term, multi-agency investigation authorized by the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF), more than 400 federal, state, and local law enforcement officers gathered to execute approximately 100 search and arrest warrants in Missouri, California, Texas, and the Republic of Mexico.
According to Complaints filed this morning, the following defendants are alleged to be part of a large heroin distribution organization with sources in Los Angeles, California. It is conservatively estimated that the known members of this organization are directly responsible for supplying in excess of thirty (30) pounds of heroin to distributors and abusers in the St. Louis Metropolitan area.
ADAMS, 44, 1200 block of Kilgore, St. Louis
According to the complaints, the following fourteen defendants, led by Maurice Lee, Charles Anthony Rush-Bey and Antonia Butler, are responsible for well over 1,000 federal and state narcotics law violations, as well as planning assassinations and concealing weapons. Some defendants could face penalties including imprisonment for life. At least seven will be subject to pretrial detention requests based upon their past and present violence, criminal histories, danger to the community and/or flight risk, according to motions filed by the United States Attorneys Office.
LEE, 19, of the 4400 block of Greenwich, St. Louis
Asa Hutchinson, Administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration, stated today in St. Louis that, This case illustrates that heroin trafficking and violence go hand-in-hand. Nationally, there is a concern that heroin traffickers are making new inroads into our nations urban areas. This case is a strong statement that heroin traffickers must not target our neighborhoods. Chief Joseph Mokwa added that, As a result of violence often associated with drug dealing in the City of St. Louis, we have implemented a joint DEA-St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department drug-related violent crime initiative. This initiative is being formed by the two agencies to address and combat the citys increase in drug-related homicides. The objectives of this initiative are to identify violent organizations involved in drug trafficking activity and develop investigative leads to clear unsolved homicides and related crime. Administrator Hutchinson pledged DEAs continued commitment to maintain a close working relationship with all federal, state, and local law enforcemcnt agencies nationwide to reduce drug trafficking and violent crime in all communities throughout thc United States.
Ray Gruender, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Missouri, applauded todays cooperative enforcement activity and stated that, This is the very kind of investigation the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force was designed to conduct, bringing together the combined efforts of many different agencies and jurisdictions, to attack and dismantle violent narcotics distribution organizations. OCDETF is a congressionally funded drug task force which was created to combine and focus the resources of nine federal agencies and state and local agencics to identify, investigate, and prosecute members of high level drug trafficking enterprises. The U.S. Attorneys Office in St. Louis serves as the OCDETF core city of the West-Central Region, which includes Missouri, southern Illinois, Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, Utah, North & South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Iowa, and Arkansas. The investigation is continuing.
In addition to the DEA, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, Federal Bureau of Investigation, U.S. Postal Inspections Service, United States Marshals Service, the Los Angeles District Attorneys Office, the St. Louis City and St. Louis County Police Departments, St. Charles County Police Department and the Missouri State Highway Patrol performed key roles in penetrating and dismantling the St. Louis factions of this organization.
The charges set forth in a Complaint are merely accusations and each defendant is innocent until and unless proven guilty.