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Press Release

St. Louis Man Pleads Guilty to Heroin Conspiracy

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

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – A St. Louis, Mo., man pleaded guilty in federal court today to his role in a conspiracy to distribute at least a kilogram of heroin in Greene County, Mo.

Michael L. Hester, 38, pleaded guilty before U.S. Magistrate Judge David P. Rush to his role in the conspiracy to distribute heroin in Greene County from Sept. 1, 2012, to April 3, 2017.

Conspirators purchased heroin in Chicago, Ill., and St. Louis then transported it to the Springfield, Mo., area by vehicle. Hester admitted that he personally transported heroin from St. Louis to Springfield and supplied mid-level heroin dealers, including co-defendant Kenneth M. Smith, 60, of Springfield. Hester also admitted that he distributed heroin to an undercover law enforcement officer on several occasions.

Smith had multiple suppliers of heroin, including Hester and co-defendants Roosevelt Simpson, 60, and Najee Boston, 37, both of Springfield. Smith would in turn supply other mid-level heroin dealers, including co-defendant Antonio J. Jones, 43, of Springfield.

Hester, Smith, Simpson, Boston and Jones are among six defendants to plead guilty in this case. Co-defendant Romele E. Freeman, 53, of Springfield, also pleaded guilty and awaits sentencing.

Under federal statutes, Hester 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 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 Nhan D. Nguyen. It was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration, Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the Missouri State Highway Patrol and the Springfield, Mo., Police Department.

Updated August 21, 2018

Drug Trafficking