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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


JULY 8, 2008

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


KC MAN SENTENCED TO 20 YEARS FOR

$2 MILLION COCAINE CONSPIRACY;

FLORIDA MAN PLEADS GUILTY


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


            Jacques Lavigne, also known as Frank Moran, 64, of Kansas City, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Ortrie D. Smith this afternoon to 20 years in federal prison without parole. The court also ordered Lavigne to forfeit any property derived from the proceeds of the offenses, including $2,010,390 that was received in exchange for the distribution of cocaine as well as property seized from Lavigne at his apartment, which included $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.


            Co-defendant Oscar A. Torres, Jr., 39, of Pembroke Pines, Fla., pleaded guilty today to his role in a conspiracy to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine from 2002 to Oct. 12, 2007.


            On March 20, 2008, Lavigne pleaded guilty to his role in the conspiracy. 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.


            Torres was arrested when his vehicle was stopped on Interstate 70 in Lafayette County, Mo., on Oct. 2, 2007, after law enforcement officers intercepted telephone calls between Lavigne and Torres in which they arranged the delivery of 10 kilograms of cocaine. Torres admitted that he was traveling from Florida to deliver approximately 10 kilograms of cocaine, which was located in a hidden compartment of a large metallic tool chest in the bed of a pickup truck, to Lavigne. Lavigne was arrested on Oct. 12, 2007. During the conspiracy, Lavigne received at least 38 kilograms of cocaine, and as much as 72 kilograms, for further distribution.


            Law enforcement officers executed a search warrant at Lavigne’s apartment at the Locarno Apartments on Ward Parkway on the day of his arrest. 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.


            Beginning in July 2007, Lavigne unknowingly engaged in recorded conversations with a cooperating witness on multiple occasions, in which he described his cocaine trafficking activities. On Aug. 14, 2007, the court authorized the interception of wire communications on Lavigne’s land-line telephone and cellular telephone. Lavigne was intercepted making incriminating telephone calls to and from Torres regarding cocaine trafficking.


            On Aug. 26, 2007, special agents with the FBI observed Lavigne receive a shipment of two kilograms of cocaine from Torres. Lavigne later sold four ounces of cocaine to the cooperating witness on six separate occasions, charging $1,500 per ounce.


            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