A man pleaded guilty in federal court to his role in a conspiracy to distribute more than three kilograms of heroin intercepted by law enforcement officers when it was shipped from California to Kansas City, Missouri.
Solomon B. Hawthorne, 31, of Kansas City, Kansas, pleaded guilty before U.S. Chief District Judge Beth Phillips to participating in a conspiracy to possess heroin with the intent to distribute.
According to court documents, a Kansas City, Mo., police detective intercepted a suspicious package at a local FedEx facility. The package, which was being shipped from California to a Kansas City, Mo., address, contained a black metal safe. Inside the safe were three bundles of a total of 3.179 kilograms of heroin.
An undercover law enforcement officer conducted a controlled delivery of the package on Nov. 20, 2020. The undercover detective knocked on the front door of the residence, but no one answered. He placed the package on the steps of the porch, and officers initiated surveillance. In less than an hour, an individual arrived via Uber and began continuously walking the block, texting and talking on his cell phone for a couple of hours, appearing to be keeping an eye on the parcel. At one point, he walked up to the house and repositioned the parcel on the porch in order to conceal it from the street.
A couple of hours later, Hawthorne arrived, driving a 2016 Dodge Ram truck. The individual got into Hawthorne’s truck, and they drove around the block before pulling into the driveway of the residence. Hawthorne and the other individual were taken into custody.
When officer’s searched Hawthorne’s truck, they found a large clear storage bag that contained approximately 134.04 grams of heroin. They also found a black bag that contained $48,680 in cash and a Glock 9mm magazine with 10 rounds of ammunition. Another Glock 9mm magazine, which contained 15 rounds of ammunition, was found in a hidden compartment underneath the dashboard.
According to court documents, Hawthorne had conducted similar transactions twice over the previous few months and had paid approximately $100,000 to purchase heroin that was shipped to Kansas City.
Under federal statutes, Hawthorne 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. A sentencing hearing is scheduled for Dec. 16, 2021.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Emily A. Morgan. It was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Kansas City, Mo., Police Department, and the MoWIN Task Force.