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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of Missouri

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Jury Convicts Columbia Man of Heroin Conspiracy

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Tammy Dickinson, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that a Columbia, Mo., man was convicted in federal court today of his role in a conspiracy to distribute heroin in Columbia.


Nalenzer Lee Edwards, 47, of Columbia, was found guilty of participating in a conspiracy to distribute heroin from March 17 to June 17, 2015, and of possessing heroin with the intent to distribute.


Law enforcement officers, acting upon information from a confidential informant, followed Edwards from Columbia to a known drug house in Jefferson City, Mo., on June 10, 2015. According to the confidential informant, Edwards was traveling to drop off money to his heroin supplier. After 30-45 minutes inside the residence, Edwards returned to a hotel in Columbia. Later that night offices conducted a trash pull at the Jefferson City residence and discovered numerous items associated with drug trafficking.


On June 17, 2015, law enforcement officers again followed Edwards from Columbia to the Jefferson City residence. After he left the Jefferson City residence, police officers conducted a traffic stop. Officers searched his car and found approximately 19.8 grams of heroin hidden inside the dash. At the same time, a SWAT team executed a search warrant at the residence and seized heroin and crack cocaine.


Edwards told law enforcement officers that he had been obtaining heroin from his Jefferson City supplier on a weekly basis for the past three or four months. Edwards admitted that he packaged the heroin into smaller amounts for sale to customers in Columbia.


Following the presentation of evidence, the jury in the U.S. District Court in Jefferson City, Mo., deliberated for more than an hour before returning the guilty verdicts to U.S. District Judge Brian C. Wimes, ending a trial that began Monday, May 2, 2016.


Under federal statutes, Edwards is subject to a sentence of up to 40 years in federal prison without parole. The maximum statutory sentence is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes, as the sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the court based on the advisory sentencing guidelines and other statutory factors. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the completion of a presentence investigation by the United States Probation Office.


This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jim Lynn. It was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Columbia, Mo., Police Department, MUSTANG (the Mid-Missouri Unified Strike Team and Narcotics Group) and the Jefferson City, Mo., Police Department.

Drug Trafficking
Updated May 3, 2016