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Justice News

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

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

KC Man Pleads Guilty to Contraband Smuggling at Jackson County Detention Center

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Tom Larson, Acting United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that a Kansas City, Mo., man pleaded guilty in federal court today to his role in a conspiracy to smuggle contraband cell phones and other items to inmates at the Jackson County Detention Center.

Marion Lorenzo Byers, also known as “Cuddy,” 36, of Kansas City, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Gary A. Fenner to the charge contained in a July 18, 2017, federal indictment.

Byers admitted that he conspired with others – including a corrections officer and an inmate at the Jackson County Detention Center – to smuggle contraband to inmates between May 2 and June 26, 2017. Byers also admitted that he delivered contraband to a co-conspirator, who in turn delivered the contraband to a corrections officer at the detention center, who was to deliver the contraband to an inmate.

By pleading guilty today, Byers acknowledged that this federal conviction provides a sufficient basis to revoke his current probation in an unrelated state case. The government will seek to have whatever sentence is imposed in this case run consecutive to whatever revocation sentence may be imposed in state court.
Under federal statutes, Byers is subject to a sentence of up to five 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.

The Travel Act

The Travel Act makes it a crime to use a facility of interstate commerce (such as telephone calls) with the intent to further unlawful activity. The Travel Act’s definition of “unlawful activity” includes bribery in violation of the laws of a state. Missouri state law makes it a crime for a public servant to solicit or accept a bribe in return for violating a known legal duty. This crime is known under Missouri state law as acceding to corruption, and it is a companion or sister statute to the Missouri state statute that makes it a crime for someone to bribe a public servant. These two Missouri state statutes criminalize bribery conduct involving a public servant, both for the person paying the bribe and for the public servant taking the bribe.

Byers admitted today that he conspired to violate the Travel Act by using a facility of interstate commerce (a telephone) to facilitate the promotion of an unlawful activity, that is, acceding to corruption.

This case is being prosecuted by Deputy U.S. Attorney Gene Porter and Assistant U.S. Attorney Brent Venneman. It was investigated by the FBI and the Jackson County, Mo., Sheriff’s Department with assistance from the Missouri Department of Corrections, the Kansas City, Mo., Police Department and the Jackson County Detention Center. 

Updated December 6, 2017