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
OCTOBER 5, 2009
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
COLUMBIA RESIDENTS PLEAD GUILTY TO
DRUG TRAFFICKING CHARGES
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Matt J. Whitworth, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced today that two Columbia, Mo., residents – including the mother of two co-defendants – have pleaded guilty in federal court to their roles in connection with illegal drug trafficking in association with members of the Cut Throats gang.
William Harold Rogers, 42, of Columbia, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Nanette K. Laughrey this morning to his role in a drug-trafficking conspiracy. Co-defendant Donna C. Coats, 39, of Columbia, pleaded guilty on Friday, Oct. 1, 2009, to using a telephone to facilitate the conspiracy. A jury trial for both defendants had been scheduled to begin today.
Rogers is the final co-defendant to plead guilty to the charges contained in an April 3, 2009, federal indictment. Seven of the 16 defendants have admitted their involvement in a gang-related drive-by shooting that occurred May 31, 2008. Coats is the mother of co-defendants Eric Sherron Coats, 21, and Koda Alshawn Coats, 23, both of Columbia.
By pleading guilty today, Rogers admitted that he participated in a conspiracy to distribute cocaine and crack cocaine from January 2007 to September 2008, including distribution to or by members of the Cut Throats gang. Rogers and others agreed to purchase and supply each other with crack cocaine and powder cocaine for resale and distribution. Rogers would either convert or assist in converting powder cocaine into crack cocaine for resale to others.
During the time period of the conspiracy, Rogers admitted, the conspirators distributed at least a kilogram of crack cocaine.
Donna Coats admitted that she was aware that Eric Coats acquired crack cocaine from other individuals and sold it in and around Columbia. Donna Coats frequently assisted her son in his unlawful business. She would frequently drive him to narcotics deals, participate in the sales and locate customers for him.
Under federal statutes, Rogers is subject to a mandatory minimum sentence of 20 years in federal prison without parole, up to a sentence of life in federal prison without parole. Coats is subject to a sentence of up to five years 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