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Press Release

Jury Convicts Denver Man of Fentanyl, Meth Trafficking, Illegal Firearm

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

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – A Denver, Colorado, man has been convicted at trial for transporting fentanyl and methamphetamine through Kansas City, Mo., aboard a bus and for illegally possessing a firearm.

Ahmad Rashad Rhodes, 44, was found guilty on Thursday, Dec. 7, of one count of possessing fentanyl with the intent to distribute, one count of possessing methamphetamine with the intent to distribute, one count of possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug-trafficking crime, and one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm.

Officers with the Missouri Western Interdiction and Narcotics Task Force (MoWIN) were conducting interdiction activities at a Kansas City, Mo., bus station on March 20, 2023, when Rhodes arrived on a bus that originated in Los Angeles, California. As passengers disembarked, a police drug-sniffing dog alerted to the scent of illegal drugs in a suitcase in the undercarriage of the bus as well as a backpack in the passenger compartment of the bus. Officers determined both items belonged to Rhodes and contacted him.

After a brief struggle, Rhodes was taken into custody when he admitted to officers he had a gun in the crossbody bag he was wearing. Officers searched Rhodes and found a key chain in his coat with two metal pill holders attached; one pill holder contained 61 blue counterfeit oxycodone hydrochloride pills that contained fentanyl and the other contained 33 blue counterfeit oxycodone hydrochloride pills that contained fentanyl.

In the crossbody bag Rhodes was wearing, officers discovered 3,200 blue counterfeit oxycodone hydrochloride pills that contained fentanyl, a clear plastic baggie that contained 60 grams of methamphetamine, and a loaded Smith & Wesson .38-caliber pistol. Officers searched the rest of Rhodes’s luggage and found a digital scale, over 100 unused small, plastic baggies and marijuana.

Rhodes was taken into custody when he admitted to officers that he had a gun inside the fanny pack he was wearing. Officers searched Rhodes and found a key chain in his coat with two metal pill holders attached; one pill holder contained 61 blue counterfeit oxycodone hydrochloride pills that contained fentanyl and the other contained 33 blue counterfeit oxycodone hydrochloride pills that contained fentanyl.

Rhodes told officers he was enroute to Louisville, Kentucky, and was fleeing from Colorado due to a pending drug-trafficking case in which he was set to be sentenced.

Under federal law, it is illegal for anyone who has been convicted of a felony to be in possession of any firearm or ammunition. Rhodes has eight prior felony convictions related to the use or trafficking of illegal drugs, including two convictions in Colorado for which he pled guilty and then failed to appear for sentencing, and a prior felony conviction for illegally possessing a firearm.

Following the presentation of evidence, the jury in the U.S. District Court in Kansas City, Mo., deliberated for less than an hour before returning guilty verdicts to U.S. District Judge Stephen R. Bough, ending a trial that began Wednesday, Dec. 6.

Under federal statutes, Rhodes is subject to a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in federal prison without parole, up to a sentence of life 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 is scheduled on April 11, 2024.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Megan A. Baker and Gregg R. Coonrod. It was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Kansas City, Mo., Police Department.

Updated December 8, 2023

Topic
Drug Trafficking