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Cocaine kingpin with Mexican cartel connections sentenced to 20 years

ST. LOUIS – Adrian “AD” Lemons, 42, of St. Louis, was sentenced to 20 years in prison for cocaine conspiracy. Lemons appeared today before U.S. District Court Judge Henry E. Autrey.

According to court documents, between 2012 and 2016, Lemons worked with representatives of the Mexican cartel to receive and distribute vast kilogram quantities of cocaine within the City of St.Louis.  Lemons also supplied large quantities of cocaine to large-scale, mid-level, and street-level drug dealers who also sold cocaine and cocaine base (crack) within the Saint Louis area and beyond. Virgil Sims was one such dealer who distributed cocaine supplied to him directly by Lemons in St. Louis as well as the southeast Missouri region. Sims also undertook efforts to maintain Lemons’ drug trafficking organization once Lemons was federally indicted in January 2016.

This case was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration St. Louis Division; Homeland Security Investigations; St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department; the Kennett, Missouri, Police Department; the United States Marshals Service; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; and the FBI.

As to the larger drug conspiracy, the Mexican cartel coordinated routine bulk shipments of cocaine from Reynosa, Mexico, through the Rio Grande Valley, and then to the St. Louis area. The cocaine shipments were transported via truck and, in turn, bulk quantities of U.S. currency were shipped back through the southern U.S. to Mexico as payment for the cocaine. During the course of the overall investigation, agents seized firearms; drug trafficking tools; drug ledgers; over 64 kilograms of cocaine; and over $1.3 million directly attributable to Lemons and his associates, including Sims. Lemons also owned and utilized multiple properties located throughout St. Louis in furtherance of the drug trafficking conspiracy, including, but not limited to, properties at 11553 Poeggemoeller Avenue; 824 and 1600 McLaran; 6327 Theodosia Avenue; 7230 North Broadway; 8573 Broadway; 877 Wall; and 7118 Idlewild. Lemons specifically admitted that he was the manager of this extensive criminal enterprise.

“Today we saw one of this region’s most prolific drug traffickers sentenced to 20 years in federal prison.  The poison he peddled not only endangered this community, but it fueled unprecedented levels of drug-related violence and murders,” said U.S. Attorney Jeff Jensen after today’s sentencing. “Today’s sentence is the result of a long-term, far-reaching investigation involving federal, state and local partners. It is an example of federal law enforcement at its finest.”

Lemons is one of 34 defendants named in federal indictments consisting of charges related to drug trafficking and drug trafficking related violence, including multiple homicides.

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