LOS ANGELES –A federal jury has returned guilty verdicts against a Los Angeles burger stand owner who distributed cocaine base in the form of crack cocaine.
Brian Sawyers, 57, of Los Angeles, was found guilty yesterday of two felony offenses of distribution of cocaine base in the form of crack cocaine after selling crack cocaine to a confidential informant working with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).
According to the evidence presented at the three-day trial, in two separate instances, Sawyers sold 26.9 grams and 70.6 grams of crack cocaine to a ATF confidential informant at his business, B.D. Burgers, in South Los Angeles. In the first transaction, on February 8, 2012, following a series of recorded phone calls in which the informant and defendant discussed the purchase of crack cocaine, Sawyers met the informant at the burger stand, and sold the informant approximately one ounce of crack cocaine for $700. On March 1, 2012, law enforcement officers and the informant conducted a second operation during which the informant went to the burger stand, where he met Sawyers. They then went to Sawyers' home, where Sawyers sold approximately two-and-a-half ounces of crack cocaine to the informant for $1,700.
“Narcotics trafficking poses a serious threat to the health and safety of our local communities,” said United States Attorney Eileen M. Decker. “Mr. Sawyers chose to conduct his sales of crack cocaine despite having been previously convicted of a federal narcotics offense. As a result of his misguided choices, he shall now be facing a lengthy prison sentence.”
The jury convicted Sawyers after a three-day trial before United States District Judge Ronald S. W. Lew in United States District Court.
After the jury returned its verdicts, Judge Lew scheduled a sentencing hearing on November 1. Sawyers currently faces a five-year mandatory minimum sentence but, at sentencing, he could face a ten-year mandatory minimum sentence due to his prior drug trafficking conviction. Sawyers faces a statutory maximum sentence of life in federal prison.
The investigation was conducted by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, Los Angeles Police Department, and the Drug Enforcement Administration. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Anil J. Antony and Ann C. Kim.
USAO – California, Central Updated August 5, 2016
Central District of California DOJ / 16-183 / August 5, 2016