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Press Release

Houston Man Sentenced To Federal Prison For Drug Trafficking Following $1.2 Million Dollar Cash Seizure

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of Illinois

A drug trafficker was sentenced to 14 years in prison in federal court on Friday, June 9, 2017, for conspiracy to distribute cocaine in the St. Louis metropolitan area.

United States Attorney Donald S. Boyce announced the sentence for the Southern District of Illinois. Defendant Samuel Dewayne Monroe, 39, of Houston, Texas, was sentenced to 168 months in prison, five years of supervised release to follow the term of imprisonment, a $600 fine, and a $100 special assessment. Monroe’s sentence came after the Court determined that he was involved in distributing approximately 120 kilograms of cocaine from Texas into the Midwest.

Monroe was charged in an Indictment on February 18, 2016, alleging that he and seven co-defendants participated in a conspiracy to distribute more than five kilograms of cocaine into the Southern District of Illinois. In addition to the drug crimes, the indictment sought forfeiture of $1,212,934 in U.S. currency seized on December 2 and 3, 2015, along with jewelry appraised at $72,000.

Court records established thatMonroe and seven co-defendants conspired to traffic cocaine in the St. Louis metropolitan area. Evidence showed that in November 2015, Monroe and others traveled to the St. Louis area to deliver cocaine and transport cash. Part of this shipment included instructions to meet with a co-defendant to supply him with three kilograms of cocaine destined for O’Fallon, Illinois. On December 2, 2015, several individuals met in the parking lot at the Galleria Mall in St. Louis, Missouri, and delivered three kilograms of cocaine. Those kilograms were sold on a "front," or consignment-type arrangement, where the buyer was not required to make payment at the time of delivery. The recipient took the three kilograms back to O’Fallon where two of the kilograms were promptly redistributed to St. Louis and East St. Louis.

On the next day, December 3, 2015, one of the buyers contacted the supplier to complain that the third kilogram was of poor quality. The buyers asked to exchange it for a replacement kilogram. The parties agreed to meet again at the Galleria Mall in St. Louis to obtain the replacement kilogram. Police interrupted the planned exchange in the parking lot and arrested each of the participants who were present. Police recovered a drug log that referenced customer and payment records for 19 kilograms of cocaine that sold for $32,500 per kilo. A search of the vehicles revealed the replacement kilogram along with a number of hotel room key cards and rental car keys. Agents traced the keys to a hotel in St. Louis and ultimately discovered a black suitcase containing $508,330 in U.S. Currency; two more kilograms of cocaine; and a small black stolen .38 caliber revolver. In the parking garage of the hotel, agents found the rental cars driven by the defendants, which contained $339,380 and $319,920 in cash hidden in the spare tires.

Monroe is the first of eight defendants in this case to be sentenced. The seven co-defendants in this case, Astin Allison, Nahum Shibeshi, Terrance Miles, Victor Johnson, Jamie Green, Rodney Smith and Dan E. Bell, have all pleaded guilty and are awaiting sentencing.

Evidence in support of this prosecution was obtained in an investigation conducted under the auspices of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF). The OCDETF initiative is designed to bring federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies and resources together to identify, target and dismantle large national and international drug trafficking organizations. The investigation was conducted by agents from the Drug Enforcement Administration. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Steven D. Weinhoeft.

Updated June 9, 2017