News and Press Releases

columbia man sentenced to 23 years in prison
for marijuana conspiracy

January 19, 2012

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Beth Phillips, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that a Columbia, Mo., man was sentenced in federal court today for his role in a conspiracy to distribute more than 100 kilograms of marijuana in Boone County, Mo.

Eric Scott McCauley, 30, of Columbia, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Nanette K. Laughrey to 23 years in federal prison without parole.

McCauley was found guilty by a trial jury on March 16, 2011, of 29 counts contained in a federal indictment.

The original indictment in this case was filed in March 2007 in the wake of one of the largest seizures of marijuana in the history of the Columbia, Mo., Police Department. Evidence presented during the trial indicated that McCauley led a drug-trafficking conspiracy that was responsible for distributing more than 100 kilograms of marijuana in Boone County from 2005 to December 2008. During the investigation, law enforcement officers seized $224,663 in cash that was attributable to or owned by McCauley.

In addition to the drug-trafficking conspiracy, McCauley was convicted of one count of distributing marijuana and two counts of possessing marijuana with the intent to distribute.

McCauley was also found guilty of participating in a money-laundering conspiracy. McCauley was also convicted of 24 counts of money laundering related to transfers of funds derived from the drug-trafficking conspiracy or conducting financial transactions that were designed to conceal the location of drug-trafficking proceeds.

Co-defendants Robert Allen Hocks, 30, and Galen Cutter Baxley, 28, both of Columbia, pleaded guilty to their roles in the drug-trafficking conspiracy. Hocks has been sentenced to five years in federal prison without parole. Baxley is scheduled to be sentenced on Jan. 24, 2012.

McCauley and his co-conspirators often traveled to Massachusetts and California to purchase high-grade marijuana, which they redistributed in Boone County.

When Columbia police officers executed a search warrant at a stash house at 4647 Brandon Woods, Columbia, on Feb. 7, 2007, they discovered more than 240 pounds of marijuana.

The drug-trafficking conspiracy continued for more than a year afterward, during which time McCauley and Baxley moved to Kansas City, Mo. In December 2008, law enforcement officers discovered approximately 12 pounds of marijuana in the trunk of Baxley and McCauley’s vehicle, which was parked on the street in front of McCauley’s apartment building.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Lauren Kummerer and Jim Lynn. It was investigated by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, IRS-Criminal Investigation and the Columbia, Mo., Police Department.

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