Missouri man sentenced to 10 years in prison without parole for carrying almost 2.5 pounds of fentanyl aboard a train

Fentanyl Graphic

A Missouri man was sentenced in federal court for smuggling more than a kilogram of fentanyl in his luggage aboard a train that stopped in Kansas City, Mo., from Los Angeles, Calif., bound for St. Louis, Mo.

Joseph D. Christie, 43, of Poplar Bluff, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Brian C. Wimes to 10 years and 10 months in federal prison without parole.

On May 20, 2021, Christie pleaded guilty to one count of possessing fentanyl with the intent to distribute.

Christie admitted he was in possession of approximately 1.1 kilograms (2.43 pounds) of fentanyl when he was arrested at a Kansas City train station on March 8, 2021. A Kansas City police detective noticed a strong odor of marijuana when Christie walked past him after disembarking from a train originating in Los Angeles. Christie told the detective he was on his way to St. Louis. A police drug detection dog alerted on Christie’s suitcase. Christie initially refused to allow the detective to search the suitcase and was placed under investigative arrest while the detective applied for a search warrant. Christie said he didn’t understand why he was going to jail for a small amount of marijuana. The detective informed him that the Jackson County Prosecutor no longer charged marijuana possession cases involving personal-use amounts of marijuana; if all he had in his suitcase was personal-use marijuana, the marijuana would be seized and he could continue his travels.

Christie then allowed his suitcase to be searched. The detective found two plastic dispensary jars of personal-use marijuana and a container of personal-use methamphetamine. The detective also found, hidden in a folded pair of jeans, a vacuum-sealed heat-sealed bag that contained fentanyl.

This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeffrey Q. McCarther. It was investigated by the Kansas City, Mo., Police Department, and the Drug Enforcement Administration.