Skip to main content
Press Release

California Man Sentenced to Life in Prison for Large-Scale PCP Conspiracy

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

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Tom Larson, Acting United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that a California man was sentenced in federal court today for his role in a conspiracy to distribute large quantities of PCP in the Kansas City area.

Ladronal S. Hamilton, also known as “Black,” 46, of Hawthorne, Calif., was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Gary A. Fenner to life in federal prison without parole.

On May 18, 2017, Hamilton was found guilty at trial of participating in a conspiracy to distribute PCP in Jackson County, Mo., and elsewhere from Jan. 1, 2011, to March 12, 2015. Evidence introduced during the trial indicated that Hamilton supplied numerous associates in Kansas City with kilogram quantities of PCP, which was transported from California through the mail.

Hamilton was the organizer and supplier to large-scale Kansas City PCP distributors, each of whom has been convicted and sentenced in federal court. He organized and arranged the cross-country shipment of numerous multi-kilogram containers of PCP from California.

According to trial testimony, investigators made three seizures of PCP from Hamilton in 2014 that totaled approximately 14 kilograms. In addition, the testimony of cooperating witnesses established that Hamilton distributed additional amounts in excess of 37 kilograms of PCP. Hamilton also possessed firearms in relation to drug trafficking during the timeframe of the conspiracy. One investigator testified that he recovered cocaine and three firearms from Hamilton’s California residence.

A cooperating witness testified at trial that Hamilton used various houses in Kansas City, including his father’s house, as a safe location to receive and re-package large amounts of PCP.

In seeking the life sentence for Hamilton, the government’s court filings refer to the serious nature of the crime and to Hamilton’s extensive prior criminal record, which includes felony convictions for armed bank robbery, second-degree murder, first-degree assault, armed criminal action and possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance. A career offender for violent crimes and narcotic offenses, Hamilton’s s interstate distribution of large quantities of PCP began within three years of his release from federal prison for armed bank robbery as a result of his second revocation from supervised release.

Today’s sentence includes an enhancement for obstruction of justice. Trial testimony from at least two cooperating witnesses support the claim that Hamilton attempted to dissuade or intimidate a witness from testifying against him. One cooperating witness specifically recalled Hamilton stating that he wanted a government witness dead.

Operation Dirty Glass

Operation Dirty Glass was an investigation of a large-scale PCP and crack cocaine drug trafficking organization. More than 20 defendants were indicted and convicted as a result of the investigation, including the primary target, Gerald W. Jones of Kansas City, Mo., who received PCP from Hamilton. In a separate but related, case, Jones was convicted and sentenced to 20 years in federal prison without parole.

Investigators seized a total of approximately 14 kilograms of PCP in a series of Express Mail shipments made by Hamilton to Kansas City, Mo. On Oct. 17, 2014, a postal inspector identified an Express Mail package that had been sent by Hamilton from the La Tiejera, Calif., post office to a Kansas City, Mo., address. The parcel contained three metal canisters, each of which contained approximately two kilograms of PCP. On Nov. 10, 2014, a postal inspector identified two more Express Mail packages that had been sent by Hamilton from California to Kansas City, Mo., addresses. Inside each package, investigators found a metal canister containing approximately two kilograms of PCP.

Hamilton made frequent trips to the Kansas City area. Prior to the discovery of the PCP shipments, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service interdicted two Express Mail envelopes on Oct. 16, 2013, that Hamilton, while visiting Kansas City, had sent back to California. One envelope contained $4,000 and the other contained $7,000, of drug proceeds.

Operation Water Park

Hamilton was also implicated in a separate investigation, Operation Water Park, which resulted in the indictment and convictions of 11 defendants. In early 2015, Hamilton began supplying PCP to Leelon Williams of Kansas City, Mo. Williams pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute PCP and was sentenced to 20 years in federal prison without parole.

Williams was arrested on March 12, 2015, when Kansas City, Mo., police officers were dispatched to the area of 26th Street and College to investigate a shooting. Williams was found hiding inside his van, which was parked in an alleyway near the scene of the shooting. (Williams was not involved in the shooting.) Investigators searched the van and found two glass orange juice bottles that contained a total of approximately 1.2 kilograms of PCP, which Hamilton had shipped to Williams from California.

This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Brent Venneman and Emily A. Morgan. It was investigated by the Kansas City, Mo., Police Department, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

Updated December 14, 2017

Drug Trafficking