Nineteen People Indicted on Charges Involving Three Drug Conspiracies
DEC 10 - (ST. LOUIS, MO) - The United States Attorney’s office for the Eastern District of Missouri announced the unsealing of three indictments charging 19 defendants in three separate criminal conspiracies involving money laundering, weapon offenses, and distribution of crack cocaine, marijuana and heroin. The indictments also contain several forfeiture counts.
The nineteen defendants are said to be responsible for distributing more than 100 kilograms of marijuana, 100 kilograms of cocaine, and a kilogram of heroin. Source suppliers for these drugs have been identified in Texas, Arizona and California.
This investigation was initiated in the summer of 2009 by DEA and the St. Louis Metro Police Department and focused on drug trafficking activity in the Penrose neighborhood in North St. Louis City. The IRS-Criminal Investigation Division soon thereafter joined the effort because of the money laundering aspects.
Harry S. Sommers, Special Agent in Charge of the DEA St. Louis Division stated, "Today's arrests put an end to a dangerous criminal organization that funneled drugs onto the streets of the Penrose community, which led to an increase in crime and violence." Mr. Sommers praised the collaborative efforts of the DEA St. Louis Mobile Enforcement Team, the Internal Revenue Service, the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department and the U.S. Marshals Service for their outstanding work in this investigation.
"The distribution of illegal drugs in our communities has a far-reaching impact and can destroy the fabric of a neighborhood," said Chief Dan Isom of the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department. "We are hopeful these indictments will assure the people of the Penrose neighborhood that the St. Louis Police Department and our law enforcement partners are working diligently to rid their neighborhood of those responsible for illegal activity and the elements that come with that activity."
Toni Weirauch, Special Agent in Charge of IRS Criminal Investigation, St. Louis Field Office, noted that the “IRS plays a unique role in federal law enforcement's counter-drug effort by targeting the profit and financial gains of narcotics traffickers."
If convicted, these charges carry penalty ranges from five years to life in prison.
As is always the case, charges set forth in an indictment are merely accusations and do not constitute proof of guilt. Every defendant is presumed to be innocent unless and until proven guilty.