OFFICE OF THE UNITED STATES ATTORNEY
WESTERN DISTRICT OF MISSOURI
MATT J. WHITWORTH
Contact Don Ledford, Public Affairs ● (816) 426-4220 ● 400 East Ninth Street, Room 5510 ● Kansas City, MO 64106
JULY 10, 2009
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
THREE BROTHERS PLEAD GUILTY TO DRUG TRAFFICKING,
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Matt J. Whitworth, Acting United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that three Columbia, Mo., men pleaded guilty in federal court today to their involvement in illegal drug trafficking and firearms in association with members of the Cut Throats gang.
Eric Sherron Coats, 21, and his two brothers, Koda Alshawn Coats, 23, and Dametrell Koda Washington, 28, all of Columbia, pleaded guilty in separate appearances before U.S. Magistrate Judge William A. Knox to the charges contained in an April 3, 2009, superseding indictment.
Eric Coats and Washington each pleaded guilty to his role in a conspiracy to distribute crack cocaine, powder cocaine and marijuana from January 2007 to January 2009. During that time period, they each admitted, conspirators moved at least a kilogram of powder cocaine and at least half a kilogram of crack cocaine. They also admitted that they were involved in drug trafficking with members of the Cut Throats gang, which was involved in distributing narcotics, possessing firearms, passing firearms between themselves and using firearms to promote their drug trafficking operation and to protect themselves.
Eric Coats and Washington each pleaded guilty to possessing firearms in furtherance of a drug-trafficking conspiracy. Eric Coats also pleaded guilty to his role in a conspiracy to illegally possess and to aid and abet others to illegally possess firearms and to possess firearms in furtherance of a drug-trafficking crime.
On June 2, 2007, a member of the Cut Throats was shot by a member of a rival gang, in part due to a territorial dispute over the unlawful distribution of crack and powder cocaine. That evening, Eric Coats searched with other members of his organization for the shooter in order to take revenge for the shooting. They met several times afterwards, always planning violent retribution against the person they believed to be the shooter and his associates, culminating in a shooting which occurred on May 31, 2008.
Koda Coats pleaded guilty to possession with the intent to distribute crack cocaine. He admitted that, while he was a passenger in a vehicle that was being pursued by a Boone County deputy on May 11, 2007, he was carrying a baggie containing 11.31 grams of crack cocaine that he intended to distribute. He also admitted that he threw the baggie containing crack cocaine out the vehicle window; it was later retrieved by law enforcement officers. Koda Coats also admitted that he was involved in drug trafficking with members of the Cut Throats gang.
Under federal statutes, each of these defendants are each subject to a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in federal prison without parole, up to a sentence of life in federal prison without parole. Sentencing hearings will be scheduled after the completion of presentence investigations by the United States Probation Office.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Anthony P. Gonzalez and Lawrence E. Miller and Boone County Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Steven Berry, who has been appointed a Special Assistant U.S. Attorney to assist in this prosecution. It was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Columbia, Mo., Police Department, the Boone County, Mo., Prosecutor’s Office, the Boone County, Mo., Sheriff’s Department, the Missouri State Highway Patrol Crime Lab and the Mo. Department of Corrections.
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