Arkansas Man Sentenced to Life on Drug and Firearm Charges
JUN 3 -- East St. Louis, IL - A. Courtney Cox, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois, announced today that Ronnie Lauderdale, age 51, of West Memphis, Arkansas, was sentenced to life imprisonment for his conviction of conspiracy to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute 5 kilograms or more of cocaine. Lauderdale received a concurrent sentence of 30 years for unlawful possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. Lauderdale was found guilty of both offenses by a jury on February 15, 2008.
According to evidence presented at the sentencing hearing, this is Lauderdale’s eighth drug-related conviction, and he therefore faced a mandatory life sentence as a result of his role in the cocaine conspiracy. Lauderdale was found by the Court to have been the leader of an organization that trafficked some 32 kilograms of cocaine into the Metro-East area, primarily to the Madison, and Venice, Illinois areas.
Lauderdale possessed a firearm in his vehicle in connection with the September, 2006, delivery of 20 kilograms of cocaine to the Madison, Illinois area. In addition, the Court found that Lauderdale obstructed justice by attempting to arrange the killing of two prospective witnesses while he was incarcerated awaiting trial.
The investigation was conducted by agents of the Metropolitan Enforcement Group of Southwestern Illinois (MEGSI) and the Drug Enforcement Administration. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys James E. Crowe, III and Nicole Gorovsky.