News Release
August 23, 2007
Thomas Murphy

Los Angeles Man, Woman Charged in Cocaine Conspiracy; One Suspect Wounded in Police Shooting

AUG 23 -- (KANSAS CITY, Mo.) – Preston L. Grubbs, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and John F. Wood, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that two Los Angeles, California, residents were charged in federal court today with participating in a conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute more than two kilograms of cocaine. One of those defendants was shot several times during a struggle with police officers.

Morris Butler, 31, and Artessia Moore, 20, both of Los Angeles, were charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute 500 grams or more of cocaine in a federal criminal complaint filed this morning in U.S. District Court in Kansas City. Moore remains in federal custody pending a detention hearing. Butler remains hospitalized.

According to an affidavit filed in support of the criminal complaint, law enforcement officers observed Moore exit a bus at the Greyhound Bus Terminal at 1101 S. Troost in Kansas City at about 11:30 a.m. Wednesday, Aug. 22, 2007. Moore was wearing a black hooded sweatshirt and blue jeans, the affidavit says, which was unseasonable clothing since the temperature was 92 degrees Fahrenheit. An officer also observed what appeared to be a bulky substance underneath the sweatshirt, the affidavit says. A detective contacted her and, after she claimed to have no identification, received her consent to be searched by a female officer.

When Moore was searched, the affidavit says, officers found four bundles containing a total of 2.25 kilograms of cocaine wrapped in clear cellophane. Moore, who was wearing a one-piece swimsuit that secured the bundles, had a one-way bus ticket from Los Angeles to Columbus, Ohio.

After Moore was searched and arrested, an officer contacted Butler, identified as her boyfriend who was traveling with her. According to the affidavit, when police officers attempted to handcuff Butler, he began to actively resist by pushing and pulling away from the detectives. During the struggle, the affidavit says, Butler broke free from the detectives and fled the scene on foot and a foot chase ensued.

Butler fled out the front doors of the bus terminal and continued westbound on 12th Street, stopping underneath the Interstate 35 overpass. Two detectives who pursued him drew their weapons and ordered him to get on the ground, according to the affidavit, but Butler refused to comply. As one detective attempted to put Butler on the ground, Butler assaulted the detective and grabbed the detective’s firearm. A struggle for the firearm ensued, the affidavit says, and ended when the detective discharged his firearm, striking Butler numerous times.

Butler was transported by ambulance to Truman Medical Center-West in critical condition. The detective sustained a head injury and chest pain, but was treated and released from the hospital.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Rudolph R. Rhodes, IV. It was investigated by the Kansas City, Mo., Police Department and the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Kansas City Interdiction Task Force.