JEFFERSON CITY — Assistant U.S. Attorney Lawrence Miller identified Eric Sherron Coats as the leader of the Cut Throat gang in court Thursday.
Coats was detained without bond Thursday in the central division of the U.S. Court for the Western District of Missouri in Jefferson City.
Magistrate Judge William A. Knox ruled to detain the suspected leaderalong with co-defendant Tarron Montez Cason, 25, without bond until trial, scheduled to begin July 20. Both have entered pleas of not guilty on all counts.
Miller said that evidence collected from 60 days of wiretap recordings of Coats' phone led to the identification of Coats, 21, as the leader of the gang. The wiretaps are suspected to have recorded him discussing drugs, rival gangs, gun violence and the drive-by shootings in which Coats and other co-defendants are accused of having participated. Miller stated that this type of call occurred multiple times a day.
Coats' attorney, Brian K. Stumpe, said Coats would not be a flight risk if released on bond because he had a chance to flee his house after he was informed that the FBI would be coming to arrest him. Instead, he remained at the house and allowed the FBI to search his home, Stumpe said.
Knox granted the prosecution's request to detain Coats despite Stumpe's evidence and letters from Coats' family members, employers and teachers.
Coats is charged with conspiracy to distribute controlled substances, possession with intent to distribute cocaine base, use of a communications facility to assist in the distribution of illegal substances, possession of a firearm while being addicted to a controlled substance, and involvement in another conspiracy entailing competition with other individuals for drug-trafficking, illegal possession of firearms and firing a gun into a group of two or more people.
Wiretaps are also suspected to have recorded Cason talking to Coats about narcotics. Cason has also been convicted of one earlier narcotics felony in Boone County, along with at least 23 misdemeanor convictions, according to Miller. Cason's attorney, Randall England, said Cason could present an alibi defense.
Cason is charged with conspiracy to distribute controlled substances, possession with intent to distribute cocaine base and use of a communications facility to aid in the distribution of controlled substances.
Coats and Cason are two of the 16 suspected gang members listed in a 34-count indictment. The co-defendants include Coats' mother,Donna C. Coats, and a brother, Koda Alshawn Coats.