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St. Louis man pleads guilty to murder-for-hire, drug charges

Maurice Woodson, 34, was a member of a large-scale cocaine trafficking conspiracy between 2012 and 2016
Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

ST. LOUIS — A St. Louis man has pleaded guilty to murder-for-hire and other charges.

Maurice Woodson, 34, was a member of a large-scale cocaine trafficking conspiracy between 2012 and 2016. Woodson bought large quantities of cocaine from convicted drug trafficker Adrian Lemons and his associates in the St. Louis area.

The investigation into Woodson and his associates revealed evidence of a well-defined distribution network with a direct Mexican source of supply for cocaine, according to a news release from US Attorney for Eastern District of Missouri Sayler Fleming. During the investigation, authorities seized more than 70 kilograms of cocaine and more than $1 million.

In addition to the drug trafficking conspiracy, Woodson was also recruited to kill a man prosecutors said. On Dec. 5, 2013, Woodson shot and killed the man as he tried to get into his car in the 3500 block of Kossuth Avenue near Fairground Park in north St. Louis. Woodson received drugs and money as compensation for the murder.

In November 2014, Woodson was recruited to kill another man. Woodson lured the victim to a meeting in the 900 block of Harlan Avenue in north city and shot and killed him. Two other people who were with the victim at the time were also shot, but they survived.

In January 2016, Woodson was indicted in federal court for his roles in the drug conspiracy and the December 2013 murder. He was detained by a magistrate judge pending trial. While detained in a local holding facility, Woodson initiated a murder-for-hire scheme. He recruited someone to murder a potential witness to the December 2013 murder.

The person Woodson recruited for the scheme was actually an undercover police officer.

Woodson pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute cocaine, discharging a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime resulting in death and witness tampering. The judge will sentence Woodson in June. In exchange for his guilty plea, the parties will recommend to the court that he be imprisoned for 23 years.

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