ICE HSI investigation leads to 25-year sentence for cartel-connected drug dealer for trying to establish cocaine pipeline from Mexico to St. Louis
LOS ANGELES – Following an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations, (HSI) Los Angeles, a cartel-connected drug dealer was sentenced in federal court in St. Louis, Missouri, to 25 years in prison for his role in a to distribute more than five kilograms of cocaine.
Roy William Burris, Jr., 40, of Paramount, was found guilty of the crime of conspiracy to distribute cocaine on February 12, at the conclusion of a ten-day jury trial. The jury also determined that the quantity of cocaine involved in the conspiracy was five kilograms or more.
Trial evidence established that this was an organized crime conspiracy in which Burris and others purchased hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of cocaine in multi-kilogram amounts for further distribution and sale. As part of the conspiracy, Burris, operating in Southern California and elsewhere, obtained bulk quantities of cocaine from suppliers with ties to the Sinaloa Cartel, and then organized multi-kilogram sales of cocaine to others for further distribution.
Burris was originally arrested on Feb. 29, 2016 at Long Beach Airport, where he was en route to St. Louis carrying a loaded handgun, seven cellular phones, drug ledgers reflecting hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of drug transactions, and other indicia of drug trafficking.
Following his release, Burris continued to traffic cocaine and was arrested again on March 30, 2016, in Hawaiian Gardens, with five kilograms of cocaine and approximately $150,000 in U.S. currency in his possession. Burris was again released and ultimately traveled to Culiacán, Mexico, to meet with members of the Sinaloa Cartel about distributing bulk amounts of cocaine in St. Louis. On Sept. 7, 2016, Burris, along with other members of the conspiracy, succeeded in having approximately ten kilograms of cocaine shipped via UPS to the Silver Lining bar in South St. Louis. Law enforcement authorities were able to successfully intercept the shipment, and Burris was subsequently arrested in Los Angeles.
At the sentencing hearing, Chief U.S. District Judge Rodney W. Sippel discussed the seriousness of the offense, including the immeasurable and tragic consequences of Burris’s distribution of over 100 kilograms of cocaine into American communities, and noting the countless families who have lost a loved one to addiction and illegal drugs.
At the time Burris participated in the initial conspiracy, he was on probation for a prior drug trafficking offense committed in Kentucky.
This case was investigated by HSI Los Angeles, Drug Enforcement Administration, LA IMPACT (Los Angeles Interagency Metropolitan Police Apprehension Crime Task Force), California State Highway Patrol, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Long Beach Police Department and the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department.
This case was prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Missouri.