Man from California sentenced to 30 years in a Missouri prison for drug trafficking and money laundering

Drug Trafficking

U.S. District Judge Stephen R. Clark on Tuesday sentenced a man from California to 30 years in prison for drug trafficking and money laundering.

Lester A. “Unc” Bull, 58, pleaded guilty in February to a drug conspiracy charge, money laundering, possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime, and being a felon in possession of a firearm. He admitted being involved in a conspiracy that brought at least 100 kilograms of marijuana to the St. Louis area.

Judge Clark on Tuesday found Bull’s claims that he was not involved in dealing other drugs “not credible,” and said in court that Bull was responsible for “massive amounts” of drugs, many of which are lethal. Judge Clark found Bull responsible for a total of 20 kilograms of methamphetamine, 5 kilograms of cocaine, 2.5 kilograms of fentanyl, and 225 kilograms of marijuana.

The investigation began in 2016 when the U.S. Postal Inspection Service began looking into a series of money orders that were bought in the St. Louis area to transport drug proceeds back to California. Bull was arrested on Oct. 9, 2020, after investigators watched one of Bull’s co-defendants leave a house in Ferguson with 445 grams of methamphetamine.  When investigators tried to approach Bull, he ran away, jumped into a creek and was eventually found hiding in a dog house several blocks away. Investigators found $9,163, a shotgun, an AR-15 rifle, 40 packages containing methamphetamine, and five bags of marijuana in the house, as well as items used to prepare and package drugs for sale.

More marijuana, a rifle, a handgun, and drug records were seized three days later from the home where Bull stayed in St. Louis.

Four other defendants have also pleaded guilty in the case and two remain to be sentenced. Mario C. Thomas, 60, of St. Louis County, was sentenced to five years in prison in January. Lance L. Madkins, 42, of St. Charles, was sentenced to seven years and three months in prison in April of 2021.

The case was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.