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Press Release

Two Men Admit Involvement in Fatal University City Drug Deal

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

ST. LOUIS – Two men have admitted being involved in the fatal shooting of a man in University City, Missouri in 2022 because they thought he bought marijuana with counterfeit money. 

Nathaniel Brown-Shatto, 21, pleaded guilty Tuesday in U.S. District Court in St. Louis to one count of knowingly discharging a firearm in furtherance of the commission of a drug trafficking crime resulting in death.

Carlos Albert Castellanos Jr., 22, pleaded guilty June 6 to one count of conspiracy to possess one or more firearms in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.

Brown-Shatto and Castellanos both admitted involvement in a three-person marijuana conspiracy. Brown-Shatto told the others that the victim had previously purchased marijuana from him using counterfeit currency. On Feb. 19, 2022, they were together in a vehicle, selling marijuana. All were armed. When the victim contacted Brown-Shatto to buy more marijuana, the three drove to his home in the 7800 block of Birchmont Drive. Castellanos was driving, Brown-Shatto was in the passenger seat and the third man was in the rear of the vehicle.

When the victim stepped out of his home, Brown-Shatto shot him with a handgun while the third man began shooting him through the vehicle’s sunroof with an AK-style rifle, Brown-Shatto and Castellanos’ plea agreements say. Investigators later recovered a total of 22 spent cartridge casings from both weapons. Both shooters disposed of those weapons, but Castellanos kept his because he didn’t use it, the plea agreements say. 

Three days later, University City police stopped Castellanos and Brown-Shatto in a vehicle that matched the description of the one used by the shooters. Castellanos and Brown-Shatto were both armed with handguns and officers found about one pound of marijuana in a backpack in the car.

The third man, Emanuel Benito Vasquez, 21, is facing a marijuana conspiracy charge as well as charges of discharging a firearm in furtherance of the commission of a drug trafficking crime resulting in death and conspiracy to possess firearms in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime. He has not yet been arrested. Charges are merely accusations and do not constitute proof of guilt. Every defendant is presumed to be innocent unless and until proven guilty.

Castellanos is scheduled to be sentenced in December and Brown-Shatto in November.

The case was investigated by the University City Police Department, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and the Drug Enforcement Administration.


Robert Patrick, Public Affairs Officer,

Updated June 11, 2024

Drug Trafficking
Firearms Offenses
Violent Crime