Former Detroit drug dealer who was caught in Columbia pleads guilty to federal charges

Friday, November 30, 2007 | 5:58 p.m. CST; updated 6:27 p.m. CDT, Monday, July 21, 2008
Larry Buttrom

COLUMBIA — A former Detroit drug ring leader arrested in Columbia last year pleaded guilty Friday to federal drug trafficking charges.

Larry Buttrom, 51, of Livonia, Mich., pleaded guilty Friday as part of a plea agreement, said Don Ledford, spokesman for the U.S. Attorney John F. Wood’s office in Kansas City.

Buttrom pleaded guilty to a charge of conspiracy to distribute narcotics in exchange for the dismissal of the charge of conspiracy to sell, distribute or dispense narcotics. Buttrom faces up to 20 years in prison and a $1 million fine.

A sentencing hearing has not yet been scheduled.

Buttrom was a former top lieutenant in Detroit’s infamous Pony Down drug ring. He served six and a half years in federal prison in the late ’80s and early ’90s for obtaining heroin and cocaine and supervising the distribution of drugs on Detroit streets.

Buttrom said he moved to Columbia from Detroit to find work, but said that he had not worked since moving to Columbia, according to court documents.

Buttrom was part of a two-person conspiracy to distribute Ecstasy and marijuana in Columbia, according to court documents. On July 8, 2006, Columbia police found marijuana, Ecstasy pills and crack cocaine sitting on the center console of a Dodge Durango that Buttrom was in earlier that night.

Buttrom was taken into custody for possession of a controlled substance and officers continued to search the vehicle. Police later found heroin, marijuana, Ecstasy, several Ziploc style plastic bags and digital scales in the apartment where Buttrom was living. Police also found marijuana and Ecstasy inside a storage unit associated with Buttrom.

Buttrom’s roommate, 25-year-old Justin Simpson of Detroit, said in court documents that Buttrom asked him to rent an apartment in Columbia, buy the Durango and rent the storage unit because he had good credit. Buttrom made all of the payments and supplied Simpson with spending money.

Simpson said he took a suitcase to the storage unit that he knew contained marijuana at Buttrom’s request. Simpson said he rarely stayed in the apartment, according to court documents.

Simpson pleaded guilty to the charge of conspiracy to distribute narcotics in February, U.S. attorney spokesman Ledford said.

Buttrom’s attorney, Georgia A. Mathers, declined to comment on the case.

Buttrom is being held in the Warren County Detention Facility in Warrenton.

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Tom Meyer December 1, 2007 | 4:00 p.m.

I saw an article about a female correctional officer from Warrenton in the Warrenton, MO paper who was arrested for having sex with a federal prisoner being held for drug charges. Is this the same prisoner or is that a big coincidence?

Thanks for checking on this for me.

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