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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of Missouri

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Federal Indictment Details Years of Drug Trafficking, Homicide and Deadly Drug Overdoses at Clinton-Peabody Housing Complex

A Federal Indictment unsealed today alleges a conspiracy to distribute more than 400 grams of fentanyl, a Schedule II controlled substance that is deadly in doses of only a few milligrams, centered in the Clinton-Peabody public housing complex on the near south side of the City of St. Louis.  Many of the defendants lived outside the area but utilized the housing complex to distribute drugs.

In addition to the drug distribution, the Indictment ties three deaths to the conspiracy.

The conspiracy names fifteen individuals who have been arrested today.  In addition to the arrests, more than fifteen federal search warrants related to the investigation have been executed by a number of federal, state and local law enforcement agencies this morning.  Search warrants led to the seizure of numerous firearms and federal firearm charges will be brought against three additional subjects.

“I believe that the drug distribution organization operating at Clinton-Peabody has been dismantled this morning,” said United States Attorney Jeff Jensen.  “The fentanyl dealt by this organization is literally poison.

The Indictment details the roles of the various members of the conspiracy, describing sources, means of communication, operators of stash houses, financial operatives and street level dealers.

Deaths Resulting from the Conspiracy

The Indictment alleges that Defendants Demetrius Johnson (also known as “Meechie” “DJ” and “Huncho”) and Armond Calvin (also known as “Mon”) and Christopher Rhodes, Jr. (also known as “Lil Chris”) murdered victim David Bryant in furtherance of their drug trafficking conspiracy on December 3, 2016.

In addition to the conspiracy, the Indictment alleges that Defendant Demetrius Johnson distributed a lethal dose of fentanyl to victim J.W. which dose resulted in J.W.’s death on October 14, 2016. 

The conspiracy alleges another lethal dose of fentanyl was distributed to victim C.P. by Defendants Christopher Pipes (also known as “Cram” “Bam” and “Mike”) and Gregory Ivy (also known as “Scooby” and “S”) on May 3, 2018.

Firearms Counts

Defendant Lebaron Jackson (also known as “LB”) is alleged to have possessed a Taurus 9 millimeter handgun on May 11, 2018 having previously sustained a felony conviction.

Defendant Marquise Brown (also known as “TJ”) is alleged to have used a Glock 9 millimeter handgun in furtherance of the fentanyl conspiracy on May 24, 2018.

Money Laundering and Forfeiture

Throughout the conspiracy, beginning in March 2016, Defendant Ashley Dickerson is alleged to have engaged in financial transactions with the proceeds of the conspiracy with the intent to conceal the nature, location, source and ownership of the proceeds.

In addition to the criminal counts, the Indictment seeks the forfeiture of all proceeds of the conspiracy and any firearms or ammunition used in it or in the specified violent crimes and firearms offenses.

This case was an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation by the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department, the St. Louis Division of the FBI, the St. Louis Division of the DEA, the United States Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), the United States Marshals Service and the St. Charles County Sheriff’s Department with assistance from the St. Louis Circuit Attorney’s Office. 

Penalties

All Defendants named in the conspiracy face a ten-year mandatory minimum term of imprisonment and a maximum term of life.

All Defendants named in the homicide and distribution resulting in death face a twenty-year mandatory minimum term of imprisonment and a maximum term of life.

Defendant Marquise Brown faces a five mandatory minimum term of imprisonment and a maximum term of life, consecutive to his term of imprisonment for the conspiracy, and a maximum term of life.

All Defendant are presumed to be innocent unless and until found guilty in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri.

Town Hall Meeting

The U.S. Attorney’s Office Project Safe Neighborhoods Initiative and its law enforcement partners announce a town hall meeting for July 30, 2018 at 10:00 a.m. at the Peabody Elementary School at 1224 S. 14th Street to address this enforcement action and help residents of the neighborhood address the many social and community needs existing in the Clinton-Peabody development.  In addition to law enforcement agencies, community groups and local officials will participate in the town hall meeting and will listen to the concerns of the Clinton-Peabody neighborhood and discuss services available to the community.

Jimmie Edwards, Public Safety Director for the City of St. Louis, stated, “I appreciate the collaborative efforts of federal law enforcement agencies, the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the St. Louis Police Department to act in a proactive way to remove the criminal element off the streets of the city of St. Louis.  This is a positive thing for the citizens of St. Louis.”

“Knowing that at least 50% of homicides and gun violence in our city are drug related, the long-term collaboration on this case and the ongoing efforts between the St. Louis City Police Department, the U.S. Attorney’s Office, DEA, and the FBI is absolutely going to make the Clinton-Peabody housing complex safer. I believe the residents in this community are going to feel safer by day, and sleep better at night because of our initiative. We are committed to the long-term safety and security of the residents in the Clinton-Peabody complex,” said Police Commissioner John Hayden.

“Today’s law enforcement actions remove violent criminals from the streets of St. Louis, particularly those perpetrating gun violence and the spread of drugs such as fentanyl, both of which are killing our citizens,” said Special Agent in Charge Richard Quinn of the FBI St. Louis Division.  “We will continue joint law enforcement efforts like these until the streets of this great city are safe.”

“DEA is committed to protecting our community from the ravages of opiate trafficking and addiction,” William Callahan, III, Special Agent in Charge of the St. Louis DEA said. “With our federal, state and local law enforcement partners we seek to disrupt and dismantle the groups who are trafficking these drugs, oftentimes to the most vulnerable members of society. This group, many of whom have a history of drug dealing and violence, sold a potent and sometimes lethal drug (fentanyl).  We hope that the enforcement action taken today will provide some sense of justice to our community and the people they have preyed upon.”

“The U.S. Attorney’s Office Violent Crime Initiative is committed to a long-term solution to gun violence in St. Louis,” continued Jensen “and law enforcement understands that this enforcement action, as comprehensive as it is, is not a long term solution.  We are committed to working with the people of St. Louis to rid their community of gun violence using every resource we can.”

Topic(s): 
Drug Trafficking
Opioids
Firearms Offenses
Violent Crime
Updated July 18, 2018