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Houston Man Sentenced to 147 Months in Prison for His Role in $1.2 Million Dollar Cocaine Conspiracy

JUN 20 (ST. LOUIS) –– James Shroba, Special Agent in Charge (SAC) of the St. Louis Division Office, announced that on Friday, June 16, 2017, Rodney B. Smith, 43, of Houston, Texas, was sentenced to 147 months in the Bureau of Prisons for his involvement in a conspiracy to distribute cocaine in the St. Louis Metropolitan area.  SAC Shroba said, “The term of this sentence reflects the seriousness of this offense.  DEA is committed to working with our local, county, state, and federal law enforcement partners to do all that is possible to keep our communities safe from the drug traffickers who seek to do us harm.” 

SAC Shroba announced that Organized Crime/Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) Operation “Allison in Wonderland” identified that Smith and seven of his co-conspirators were responsible for distributing a minimum of 120 kilograms of cocaine from Texas into the Midwest, specifically the St. Louis metropolitan area.  On or about November of 2015, Smith and his co-conspirators were involved in traveling to the St. Louis metropolitan area to deliver cocaine and transport U.S. currency.  Part of this shipment included instructions to meet with a co-defendant to supply him with three kilograms of cocaine destined for O’Fallon, Illinois.  On December 2, 2015, several individuals met in the parking lot at the Galleria Mall in St. Louis, Missouri, and delivered three kilograms of cocaine.  Those kilograms were sold on a “front” or consignment-type arrangement where the buyer was not required to make payment at the time of delivery.  The recipient took the three kilograms back to O’Fallon where two of the kilograms were promptly redistributed to individuals in St. Louis and East St. Louis Smith. 

The next day, December 3, one of the buyers contacted the supplier to complain that the third kilogram was of poor quality.  The buyers asked to exchange it for a replacement kilogram.  The parties agreed to meet again at the Galleria Mall in St. Louis to obtain the replacement kilogram.  Police interrupted the planned exchange in the parking lot and arrested each of the participants who were present.  Police recovered a drug ledger that referenced customer and payment records for 19 kilograms of cocaine that sold for $32,500 per kilogram.  A search of the vehicles revealed the replacement kilogram along with a number of hotel room key cards and rental car keys.  Agents traced the keys to a hotel in the St. Louis metropolitan area and ultimately discovered a black suitcase containing $508,330 in US currency, two more kilograms of cocaine, and a small black stolen .38 caliber revolver.  In the parking garage of the hotel, agents found the rental cars driven by the defendants, which contained an additional $339,380 and $319,920 in US currency hidden in the spare tire of each rental vehicle.   

Smith is the second of eight defendants charged in this case to be sentenced.  Co-defendant Sammy Monroe was sentenced earlier to 168 months in prison, with the other six co-defendants in this case, Astin Allison, Nahum Shibeshi, Terrance Miles, Victor Johnson, Jamie Green, and Dan E. Bell, all having pled guilty and currently awaiting sentencing.

This case was investigated by Special Agents and Task Force Officers assigned to the Drug Enforcement Administration.  Prosecution for this investigation was headed by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Illinois.


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