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

JULY 31, 2008




            KANSAS CITY, Mo. – John F. Wood, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that a Los Angeles, Calif., woman was sentenced in federal court today for possession with the intent to distribute cocaine. Her former co-defendant was shot during a struggle with police officers at the time of their arrests and later died of those injuries.

             Artessia Moore, 21, of Los Angeles, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Gary A. Fenner this afternoon to 37 months in federal prison without parole.

             On March 13, 2008, Moore pleaded guilty to being in possession with the intent to distribute more than 500 grams of cocaine.

             Moore was arrested on Aug. 22, 2007, after she exited a bus at the Greyhound Bus Terminal at 1101 S. Troost in Kansas City. Moore was wearing a black hooded sweatshirt and blue jeans, which a law enforcement officer noticed was unseasonable clothing since the temperature was 92 degrees Fahrenheit. An officer also observed what appeared to be a bulky substance underneath the sweatshirt. A detective contacted her and, after she claimed to have no identification, received her consent to be searched by a female officer.

             When Moore was searched, officers found four bundles containing a total of 2.25 kilograms of cocaine wrapped in clear cellophane. Moore, who was wearing a one-piece swimsuit that secured the bundles, had a one-way bus ticket from Los Angeles to Columbus, Ohio.

             After Moore was searched and arrested, an officer contacted Morris Butler, 31, also of Los Angeles, identified as her boyfriend who was traveling with her. According to an affidavit filed in support of the original criminal complaint, when police officers attempted to handcuff Butler, he began to actively resist by pushing and pulling away from the detectives. During the struggle, the affidavit says, Butler broke free from the detectives and fled the scene on foot and a foot chase ensued. Butler fled out the front doors of the bus terminal and continued westbound on 12th Street, stopping underneath the Interstate 35 overpass. Two detectives who pursued him drew their weapons and ordered him to get on the ground, according to the affidavit, but Butler refused to comply. As one detective attempted to put Butler on the ground, Butler assaulted the detective and grabbed the detective’s firearm. A struggle for the firearm ensued, the affidavit says, and ended when the detective discharged his firearm, striking Butler numerous times.

             Butler was transported by ambulance to Truman Medical Center-West in critical condition and died on Sept. 7, 2007. The arresting detective sustained a head injury and chest pain, but was treated and released from the hospital.

            This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Rudolph R. Rhodes, IV. It was investigated by the Kansas City, Mo., Police Department and the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Kansas City Interdiction Task Force.


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