Judge Sentences Leader of St. Louis County Drug Trafficking Organization

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Ronald Gales, 54, of St. Louis, Missouri, appeared before United States District Court Judge John A. Ross and was sentenced to 12 years in federal prison today.  Gales previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute cocaine and crack cocaine, possession with intent to distribute cocaine and crack cocaine, and being a felon in possession of a firearm.

Pursuant to the plea agreement, beginning in 2018, investigators with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and St. Louis County Police Department began an investigation into Gales, who was the principal supplier of a drug trafficking organization supplying cocaine to other distributors operating in the St. Louis area.

During the investigation, law enforcement officers executed search warrants at various residences of individuals supplied by Gales, where they recovered distributable amounts of cocaine and crack cocaine.  Investigators also conducted controlled purchases of cocaine from Gales and conducted surveillance of Gales’ operations before ultimately executing a federal search warrant at Gales’ residence in October 2019. Investigators found two .40 caliber handguns, $46,000 in cash, and drug trafficking paraphernalia, as well as distribution quantities of cocaine and crack cocaine.

This effort is part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) operation. OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level criminal organizations that threaten the United States using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach. Additional information about the OCDETF Program can be found at

The Federal Bureau of Investigation and St. Louis County Police Department investigated the case.