St. Louis Man Pleads Guilty to Federal Firearm and Drug Charges
St. Louis, MO – Derek Whitfield, 36, of St. Louis, pled guilty to federal charges of being a felon in possession of a firearm; possession with intent to distribute fentanyl; possession with intent to distribute cocaine base; and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug-trafficking crime. He appeared in federal court this afternoon before U.S. District Judge Henry Autrey who accepted his guilty plea and set sentencing for May 28, 2019.
According to court documents, on November 20, 2017, Whitfield was driving behind a vehicle occupied by two individuals. Whitfield fired shots at them as he drove past. Whitfield then turned his vehicle around and fired additional shots at the victims. The shots fired by Whitfield struck the victims’ car and a residence. Responding police officers recovered 15 shell casings from the scene.
As part of the on-going investigation, police officers executed a search warrant at Whitfield’s house on December 21, 2017. At the time of execution, Whitfield attempted to flee but was taken into custody. From inside Whitfield’s residence, police officers recovered, among other things, a loaded, stolen firearm; fentanyl; cocaine base (crack); marijuana; digital scales; and drug packaging materials.
Whitfield faces up to 10 years’ imprisonment, a $250,000 fine or both for being a felon in the possession of a firearm. Each drug charge carries with it a maximum term of 20 years’ imprisonment, a $250,000 fine or both. Whitfield’s possession of a firearm in furtherance of his drug trafficking is punishable by not less than five years imprisonment consecutive to all other charges. In determining the actual sentences, a judge is required to consider the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines, which provide recommended sentencing ranges.
This case was investigated by the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF). Assistant United States Attorney Lisa Yemm is handling the case for the U.S. Attorney's Office.