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Press Release

Judge sentences cartel-connected drug dealer to 25 years for trying to establish cocaine pipeline from Mexico to St. Louis

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

ST. LOUIS, MO – Chief United States District Judge Rodney W. Sippel sentenced Roy William Burris, Jr., 40, of Paramount, California, to 25 years in prison for his role in a conspiracy to distribute more than five kilograms of cocaine.

On February 12, 2020, at the conclusion of a 10-day jury trial, Burris was found guilty of the crime of conspiracy to distribute cocaine, and the jury further found that the quantity of cocaine involved in the conspiracy attributable to Burris was five kilograms or more.

Trial evidence established that this was an organized crime conspiracy in which Burris and others purchased hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of cocaine in multi-kilogram amounts for further distribution and sale.  As part of the conspiracy, Burris, operating in Southern California and elsewhere, obtained bulk quantities of cocaine from suppliers with ties to the Sinaloa Cartel.  Burris then organized multi-kilogram sales of cocaine to others for further distribution.

Burris was originally arrested at the Long Beach Airport in California on February 29, 2016, en route to St. Louis, carrying a loaded handgun, seven cellular phones, drug ledgers reflecting hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of drug transactions, and other indicia of drug trafficking.  Following his release in California, Burris continued to traffic cocaine and was arrested again on March 30, 2016, in Hawaiian Gardens, California, in possession of 5 kilograms of cocaine and approximately $150,000 in U.S. Currency.   Burris was again released and ultimately traveled to Culiacán, Mexico, to meet with members of the Sinaloa Cartel about distributing bulk amounts of cocaine in St. Louis, Missouri.  On September 7, 2016, Burris, along with other members of the conspiracy, succeeded in having approximately 10 kilograms of cocaine shipped via UPS to the Silver Lining bar in South St. Louis.  DEA agents were able to successfully intercept the shipment, and Burris was subsequently arrested in California.

At the sentencing hearing, Chief Judge Sippel discussed the seriousness of the offense, including the immeasurable and tragic consequences of Burris’s distribution of over 100 kilograms of cocaine into American communities, and noting the countless families who have lost a loved one to addiction and illegal drugs.  

At the time Burris participated in the instant conspiracy, he was on probation for a prior drug trafficking offense committed in Kentucky.

This case was investigated by the United States Drug Enforcement Administration, specifically DEA Chicago, DEA St. Louis, DEA Los Angeles; the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department; LA IMPACT (Los Angeles Interagency Metropolitan Police Apprehension Crime Task Force); California State Highway Patrol; ICE (Homeland Security Investigations, Los Angeles, CA); U.S. Customs and Border Protection (San Ysidro, CA); and the Long Beach Police Department.  This case was prosecuted by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Missouri with assistance from the United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Illinois.

Updated September 17, 2020