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Press Release

St. Louis Man Sentenced to 27 Years in Prison for Assaulting Deputy U.S. Marshals, Selling Methamphetamine

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

ST. LOUIS – U.S. District Court Judge Matthew T. Schelp on Friday sentenced a man from St. Louis who injured two deputy U.S. marshals, one permanently, during his arrest to 27 years in prison.

Emilio Justin Sandoval, now 34, had been indicted on felony methamphetamine charges in 2021 and the U.S. Marshals were tasked with arresting him. On Nov. 10, 2021, they found him at his home. Sandoval and his significant other ran to a vehicle and tried to escape. He then rammed marshals’ vehicles multiple times. One deputy marshal suffered serious injuries to his left knee, left elbow and left hand. The other was struck by the open passenger door, knocked down and dragged by Sandoval’s vehicle. She suffered serious, permanent and life-threatening injuries to her head, neck and spine.

What began as a drug case “quickly transitioned into an attempted murder case as a result of Mr. Sandoval’s actions,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Tom Rea said during Friday’s hearing, adding that “’attempted murder’ is not too strong a term.”

“But for the bravery, tenacity, and quick thinking” of the marshals, “there could have been very different, horrific outcomes for everyone involved,” Rea said.

Rea said the case was not about Sandoval. “It is about the courageous members of the United States Marshals Service who perform their jobs day-in and day-out with the utmost professionalism and commitment to serve with absolutely zero fanfare or need for recognition – all the while never knowing what threat awaits them at any given moment.”

Judge Schelp agreed, saying attacks on law enforcement “will not be something that will ever be taken lightly. They put their lives on the line for all of us.”

The Drug Enforcement Administration began investigating Sandoval’s drug sales in December 2019, learning that he was storing and selling methamphetamine out of his home in the 4400 block of Dewey Avenue in St. Louis. Sandoval sold two ounces of methamphetamine on Oct. 20, 2020 for $1,000, which led to a consensual search of his home and the discovery of a total of 545 more grams of methamphetamine, three guns and $11,234 in a safe.

Sandoval pleaded guilty in March to one count of possession with the intent to distribute methamphetamine and two counts of assaulting an officer of the United States.

The Drug Enforcement Administration and the U.S. Marshals Service investigated this case.

Updated July 28, 2023

Violent Crime
Drug Trafficking