News and Press Releases

Northland man sentenced to life in prison for
Multi-million Dollar drug trafficking conspiracy

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 4, 2011

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Beth Phillips, 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 multi-million dollar drug-trafficking conspiracy, as well as related money laundering and firearms offenses.

Rasheed G. Shakur, also known as “Charles G. Cook,” 43, of Kansas City-North, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Greg Kays to life plus five years in federal prison without parole. The court also ordered Shakur to forfeit to the government nearly $3 million along with several residential properties and vehicles.

On Feb. 4, 2011, Shakur was convicted at trial of being the leader of a large-scale drug-trafficking conspiracy that was responsible for distributing millions of dollars worth of marijuana, cocaine and ecstasy in the Kansas City metropolitan area from July 1, 2004, to June 25, 2009. Among 30 additional defendants in this and related cases, 27 have pleaded guilty, one is incarcerated in Mexico, and two remain fugitives.

In addition to the drug-trafficking conspiracy, Shakur was found guilty of participating in a money-laundering conspiracy that included purchasing real estate with drug proceeds, two counts related to distributing cocaine and marijuana, one count of being a felon in possession of firearms and one count of possessing firearms in furtherance of those drug-trafficking crimes.

During the first four years of the conspiracy, Shakur received large shipments of marijuana, cocaine and ecstasy from a source in El Paso, Texas. The drugs were delivered by private plane at the Johnson County Executive Airport. Shakur received several hundred pounds of marijuana, five to seven kilograms of cocaine and an unknown quantity of ecstasy each week.

When that source was lost due to law enforcement activity, Shakur located additional sources in Arizona. Shakur traveled to Phoenix about twice a month between July 2008 and June 2009 to purchase marijuana, which he divided into packages and mailed back to Kansas City. Among the co-defendants who have pleaded guilty is a postal employee who advised Shakur about the safest way to send drugs through the mail and attempted to help Shakur track packages which were not delivered to him (because they had been seized by postal inspectors during the criminal investigation). Co-conspirators were paid $200-250 to receive the mailed shipments at their residences and deliver them to Shakur when he returned to Kansas City.

Shakur and co-conspirators discussed the purchase of a large truck that could be used to transport marijuana, but didn’t carry out those plans before his arrest.

Shakur lived in the Northland, but often used his residences in Jackson County as a base of operations for the drug-trafficking conspiracy. Shakur, who referred to himself as “the Michael Corleone of Kansas City,” enjoyed shopping at expensive Beverly Hills stores (purchasing such items as a $300 bandana, a $700 pair of shoes, and $20-30,000 worth of jewelry) and owned a timeshare property in Los Angeles and several residential properties in Kansas City. Evidence produced during the trial included thousands of wiretap interceptions; Shakur, who carried up to three cell phones at a time, made about 150 calls each day.

Shakur was also convicted of the forfeiture allegations contained in the federal indictment. The court ordered Shakur to forfeit to the government $2,990,000, which represents the proceeds of marijuana sold during the drug-trafficking conspiracy; three residential properties; $90,445 that was seized by law enforcement officers; $7,788 held in a credit union account; a 2002 Dodge pickup truck and a 2007 Audi.

            This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Charles E. Ambrose, Jr., and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Jalilah Otto. It was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the Kansas City, Mo., Police Department, the U.S. Marshal’s Service and IRS-Criminal Investigation.

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