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Press Release

Man Admits Laundering Money for Drug Dealers in St. Louis

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

ST. LOUIS – A man from Lake St. Louis, Missouri on Monday admitted laundering money for methamphetamine dealers operating in the St. Louis area.

Melvin Hayes, 66, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in St. Louis to misprision of a felony.

Hayes admitted working on behalf of Demond Bernard McDaniels Jr., Dawaune Lamont Rhodes Jr. and others who were distributing methamphetamine. He also admitted being caught on Oct. 8, 2020, in Kansas with 45 bundles of meth weighing about 100 pounds. Hayes had picked the meth up in Colorado and was bringing it to McDaniels. He told investigators that he would be paid for the trip but didn’t tell them he shared the profits from drug sales.

Hayes made three to four additional trips bringing cash from drug sales to Los Angeles and picking up meth, his plea says.

A subsequent investigation recovered a total of $115,755 in cash associated with Rhodes and McDaniels. 

Hayes also admitted amassing assets worth about $2.6 million by using drug profits to buy real estate, vehicles and other assets and using his limousine business to hide the source of cash. 

Hayes is scheduled to be sentenced March 26, 2024. The misprision charge is punishable by up to three years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Hayes has already agreed to forfeit $250,000, which represents the approximate value of properties he bought via his money laundering activities.

Rhodes, of St. Louis, and McDaniels, of St. Charles, were each sentenced this year to 10 years in prison.

The Drug Enforcement Administration and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service investigated the case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Paul D’Agrosa is prosecuting the case.

This effort is part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) operation. OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level criminal organizations that threaten the United States using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach. Additional information about the OCDETF Program can be found at


Robert Patrick, Public Affairs Officer,

Updated December 7, 2023

Drug Trafficking