Restaurant Owner Pleads Guilty to Cocaine Conspiracy
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Tammy Dickinson, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that the owner of Danny’s Big Easy Cajun restaurant pleaded guilty in federal court today to his role in a conspiracy to distribute cocaine.
Paul Danny Gosserand, 57, of Kansas City, Kan., pleaded guilty before U.S. Chief District Judge Greg Kays to conspiracy to distribute cocaine. Gosserand is the owner of Danny’s Big Easy Cajun at E. 18th and Vine in Kansas City, Mo.
On May 17, 2011, a confidential informant entered the restaurant at 2:30 p.m. and discussed purchasing cocaine with Jean Stephens, 63, Gosserand’s ex-wife and an employee of the restaurant. Stephens told the confidential informant the cocaine would cost $32,000 per kilogram and said the cocaine was inside her vehicle because it was too heavy for her to carry inside the restaurant. Stephens met the informant in the parking lot by her vehicle and gave him two kilograms of powder cocaine. Afterward, the informant turned over the cocaine to the agents.
At 3:54 p.m. the same day, the confidential informant returned to the restaurant and met with Gosserand to discuss the price of the two kilograms of cocaine. Gosserand said he needed the informant to pay for the cocaine, which had been fronted by Stephens, that night. Gosserand said he would be killed if payment was not made and the informant agreed to pay for the cocaine the next day.
On May 18, 2011, agents contacted Stephens at her residence at approximately 7:50 a.m. Agents searched the residence and found a briefcase with approximately two and a half kilograms of cocaine. They also found $20,480 inside a white trash bag within the briefcase. They recovered a CD case with a digital scale and $600 inside a red cloth coin bag. Agents also recovered five vacuum-wrapped bricks containing 2,465 grams of powder cocaine from inside a backpack found in Stephens’ closet. Agents recovered 10 one-ounce Vienna Philharmonic gold coins (appraised at $15,240.00), which were located on top of red cloth coin bag inside dresser.
Stephens said the cocaine belonged to Gosserand and the cash was from cocaine sales that also belonged to Gosserand. Stephens also admitted the gold coins found in her bedroom were purchased with drug proceeds as she and Gosserand believed it would be a good investment with their money. Stephens told agents that Gosserand was paranoid about keeping large sums of cash and cocaine at his residence so he often gave it to her to keep at her house and to sometimes distribute the cocaine and obtain the proceeds for him. Stephens said she believed Gosserand made more money selling cocaine than from his restaurant.
Stephens told agents that Gosserand has distributed kilogram-quantities of cocaine for the past four years. Prior to that, she said, he distributed ounce-quantities of cocaine.
Stephens pleaded guilty on Nov. 20, 2015, to her role in the conspiracy to distribute cocaine and is scheduled to be sentenced on Aug. 8, 2016.
Under the terms of today’s plea agreement, the government and Gosserand jointly recommend a sentence within the range of seven to eight years in federal prison without parole. 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 Stefan C. Hughes. It was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration.