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Press Release

Drug Dealer Sentenced to 35 Years in Prison for One Fatal, Two Nonfatal Drug Overdoses in St. Charles

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Missouri

ST. LOUIS – U.S. District Judge Henry E. Autrey on Wednesday sentenced a man who provided the drugs that caused one fatal and two nonfatal overdoses in St. Charles, Missouri to 35 years in prison.

Ledra A. Craig, 46, of Wright City, was also ordered to pay $8,544 for his victim’s funeral.

Craig first supplied fentanyl to a man in the bathroom of the Ameristar Casino in St. Charles just before 7 a.m. on August 2, 2020, according to court statements and evidence at Craig’s trial in January. The man collapsed minutes later in the lobby and had to be revived with two doses of Narcan.

While that victim was on the brink of death, Craig sold fentanyl to another man, identified in court documents as “R.P.,” in the parking garage. Craig had approached that man and his friend in the casino earlier and offered to sell them cocaine.

About 40 minutes later, R.P. and his friend were spotted in a car in a neighborhood a few blocks from R.P.’s house. Authorities were called when the car rolled forward onto someone’s lawn. Both men had overdosed. N.B. was revived with Narcan. R.P. was blue, had no pulse and was not breathing. Efforts to revive him were unsuccessful. 

Assistant U.S. Attorney Derek Wiseman pointed out during Wednesday’s hearing that the victim "did not know what the defendant was selling him. In fact, the defendant knew that the victim thought he was getting cocaine when the defendant knew and understood that R.P. was about to ingest one of the most lethal substances known to man: fentanyl. Despite knowing just how dangerous and deadly fentanyl was, the defendant continued to sell it anyway.”

Investigators quickly identified Craig as the man seen in the casino with the overdose victims, and an undercover officer bought fentanyl from Craig later that day in a transaction that was recorded on video. After his arrest, Craig admitted selling fentanyl to R.P. and conspiring to sell fentanyl that summer. R.P.’s phone was found in Craig’s house, as well as fentanyl capsules and residue.

Craig was found guilty by a federal jury in January of a fentanyl conspiracy charge, two counts of distribution of fentanyl causing serious bodily injury for the non-fatal overdoses, one count of distribution of fentanyl with death resulting and one count of fentanyl distribution for the sale to an undercover police officer.

"Because fentanyl is so lethal, DEA investigations involving drug poisoning deaths are no longer rare events," said Assistant Special Agent in Charge Colin Dickey, supervisor of DEA operations in Eastern Missouri. "We know drug traffickers lie about their illegal products. They don't care about human lives and are only involved in their criminal enterprise for the money. The only safe solution to avoid dying from fentanyl is to avoid drugs, especially if there’s a chance it came from someone like this defendant."

“We are pleased with the outcome but saddened by the loss of life,” said Captain Jeff Lange, deputy commander of the St. Charles County Regional Drug Task Force. “We hope this verdict sends a message to the drug dealers that they will not get away with the taking of lives and we hope the families can find peace with the tragic loss of their loved one.  We are proud we were able to play a role in holding Mr. Craig accountable for his actions in the dealing of drugs in our community. “ 

The case was investigated by the St. Charles County Regional Drug Task Force and the Drug Enforcement Administration. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Derek Wiseman and Samantha Reitz prosecuted the case.

Updated May 11, 2023

Drug Trafficking