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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Central District of California

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Los Angeles Man Who Ran Burger Restaurant Sentenced to 15 years in Federal Prison for Distributing Crack Cocaine

            LOS ANGELES – A South Los Angeles man was sentenced this morning to 15 years in federal prison for distributing crack cocaine on two occasions, including one transaction that took place at his hamburger stand.

            Brian Sawyers, 57, was sentenced by United States District Judge Ronald S.W. Lew for his conviction on two counts of distribution of cocaine base in the form of crack cocaine for selling the drug to a confidential informant working with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). The sentence was based in part on Sawyers’ three prior felony drug convictions, two of which were federal convictions, which meant he faced a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison.

            “Crack cocaine remains a highly addictive drug that poses a danger to its users, and the trafficking of crack poses dangers to the community at large,” said United States Attorney Eileen M. Decker. “Removing this defendant from the street for the next 15 years increases the safety of the law-abiding residents of South Los Angeles.”

            “The defendant’s criminal history documents several violations of drug trafficking laws,” said ATF Special Agent in Charge Eric D. Harden. “The lengthy sentence handed down ensures Mr. Sawyer does not remain on the streets to sell drugs at the peril of his own community.”

            According to court documents, Sawyers sold over an ounce of crack cocaine and, later, approximately 2½ ounces of crack cocaine to an ATF confidential informant. The first transaction took place on February 8, 2012 in the parking lot of B.D. Burgers, the restaurant that Sawyers owned in South Los Angeles. On March 1, 2012, there was a second operation in which the informant met Sawyers at the burger stand, and they went to Sawyers’ home, where they completed the transaction.

            The investigation into Sawyers was conducted by the ATF’s Los Angeles Field Division, the Los Angeles Police Department, and the Drug Enforcement Administration. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Anil J. Antony and Ann C. Kim.

Press Release Number: 
Updated December 9, 2016