News Release
February 20, 2008
Contact: Thomas E. Murphy
(314) 538-4660

Arkansas Man Convicted of Conspiring to Distribute Cocaine

FEB 20 -- EAST ST. LOUIS, IL - A. Courtney Cox, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois, announced today that following a jury trial that took place from February 10, 2008, through February 15, 2008, in the United States District Courthouse in East St. Louis, Illinois Ronnie LAUDERDALE, age 51, of West Memphis, Arkansas, was found guilty on February 15, 2008, of the offenses of conspiracy to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute 5 kilograms or more of cocaine and unlawful possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. The jury deliberated for less than two hours before finding LAUDERDALE guilty on both counts.

The evidence at trial established that from June, 2006, through September, 2006, LAUDERDALE was part of a conspiracy to transport over 30 kilograms of cocaine for sale and distribution in the Metro-East area. LAUDERDALE possessed a firearm in his vehicle during the last trip he made to the Madison, Illinois area, on September 26, 2006. That day, law enforcement seized 20 kilograms of cocaine that LAUDERDALE had delivered the previous day. LAUDERDALE attempted to arrange the killing of two prospective witnesses against him while he was awaiting trial.

LAUDERDALE faces a potential of life imprisonment when he is sentenced, which is currently scheduled for June 2, 2008, at 1:30 p.m. in East St. Louis, Illinois.

The investigation leading to this conviction was conducted by the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Metropolitan Enforcement Group of Southwestern Illinois (MEGSI). The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys James E. Crowe, III and Nicole Gorovsky.