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NEWS RELEASE

OFFICE OF THE UNITED STATES ATTORNEY

WESTERN DISTRICT OF MISSOURI


JOHN F. WOOD


Contact Don Ledford, Public Affairs ● (816) 426-4220 ● 400 East Ninth Street, Room 5510 ● Kansas City, MO 64106

www.usdoj.gov/usao/mow/index.html


MARCH 20, 2008

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


KC MAN PLEADS GUILTY TO $2 MILLION

COCAINE CONSPIRACY


            KANSAS CITY, Mo. – John F. Wood, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that a Kansas City, Mo., man pleaded guilty in federal court today to his role in a conspiracy to distribute large amounts of cocaine in the Country Club Plaza area.


            Jacques Lavigne, also known as Frank Moran, 64, of Kansas City, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Ortrie D. Smith this afternoon to all of the charges contained in a Jan. 16, 2008, superseding indictment.


            Lavigne admitted that he participated in a conspiracy to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine from 2002 to Oct. 12, 2007. Lavigne also admitted that he was in possession with the intent to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine on Oct. 12, 2007, and pleaded guilty to six additional counts of distributing cocaine and one additional count of possession with the intent to distribute 500 grams or more of cocaine.


            Lavigne was arrested on Oct. 12, 2007, following the interruption of a delivery of approximately 10 kilograms of cocaine from Florida. During the conspiracy, Lavigne received at least 38 kilograms of cocaine, and as much as 72 kilograms, for further distribution.


            Beginning in July 2007, Lavigne unknowingly engaged in consensually recorded conversations with a cooperating witness on multiple occasions, in which he described his cocaine trafficking activities. On Aug. 26, 2007, special agents with the FBI observed Lavigne receive a shipment of two kilograms of cocaine. Subsequently, Lavigne sold four ounces of cocaine to the cooperating witness on six separate occasions, charging $1,500 per ounce.


            Further interception of wire communications revealed that another delivery of 10 kilograms of cocaine was expected on Oct. 12, 2007. That delivery was intercepted and the cocaine, which was located in a hidden compartment of a large metallic tool chest in the bed of a pickup truck, was seized by law enforcement officers.


            Law enforcement officers executed a search warrant at Lavigne’s apartment at the Locarno Apartments on Ward Parkway on the same day. Officers recovered cocaine packaged for distribution (in separate bags containing four ounces of cocaine), a plastic ziplock bag containing one kilogram brick of cocaine wrapped in duct tape, and $468,102.


            Lavigne told law enforcement officers that he has been selling cocaine for a living since 1979, and that he has profited more than $1 million since he began selling cocaine in the Kansas City area.


            Lavigne also admitted that he gave an individual $80,000, which was proceeds from the sale of cocaine, to purchase a Mercedes and to register the car in that individual’s name.


            By pleading guilty today, Lavigne also agreed to forfeit to the government any property derived from the proceeds of the offenses, including $2,010,390 that was received in exchange for the distribution of cocaine and property seized from Lavigne at his apartment, including $461,722, jewelry with an estimated value of $51,000, various paintings, sculptures and other artwork with an estimated value of $33,866, two flat screen televisions, a projection television and a 2003 Mercedes-Benz.


            Under federal statutes, Lavigne could be subject to a mandatory minimum sentence of 20 years in federal prison without parole, up to life in federal prison without parole. A sentencing hearing is scheduled for July 10, 2008.


            This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jess E. Michaelsen. It was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.


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This news release, as well as additional information about the office of the United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, is available on-line at

www.usdoj.gov/usao/mow/index.html