DOJ Seal

Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
Eastern District of Missouri

For Immediate Release

Wednesday, May 22, 2019
Jeffrey B. Jensen
, United States Attorney

Drug Ring Leader Sentenced to 27 Years in Prison for Drugs and Murders

St. Louis, MO – U.S. District Judge Rodney W. Sippel sentenced Dionne Lamont Gatling, a/k/a “Cuffy,” 53, of St. Charles, MO, to 27 years in prison for drug trafficking charges and the use of firearms in furtherance of drug trafficking resulting in death. 

According to court documents, Gatling was the leader and organizer of the Gatling Drug Trafficking Organization.  The organization brought heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine and other drugs to the St. Louis area for distribution from 2009 to 2014. 

As leader and organizer, Gatling ordered the murders of Theodis Howard and Terrance Morgan, two individuals Gatling suspected as individuals cooperating with law enforcement.  Specifically, Gatling organized the 2010 murder of Howard and ordered it in retaliation for Howard providing information to law enforcement regarding Gatling’s brother’s drug trafficking activities.  Similarly, Gatling directed Andre Rush, another conspirator, to kill Morgan in 2013 in order to prevent Morgan from cooperating with federal law enforcement officers investigating Gatling’s drug trafficking organization.   

Following today’s sentence, U.S. Attorney Jeff Jensen highlighted the coordinated determination of the investigative and prosecution team, “This investigative team is comprised of true professionals.  But, when someone harms a witness, it becomes deeply personal to all of us.  In murdering two men who knew about his criminal acts, Mr. Gatling took aim at the very foundation of the justice system.  These investigators ensured that his actions failed.  Today’s sentence is a testament to their tenacity.”

Saint Louis Metropolitan Police Department Chief John Hayden echoed Jensen’s sentiments stating, “I am thankful for the successful collaboration with our federal partners as we work toward the shared interest of safety in the City of St. Louis.”

“Our mission at the Drug Enforcement Administration is to take down drug trafficking organizations at their highest level and that is exactly what we were able to do in this case,” said Special Agent in Charge William J. Callahan of the DEA St. Louis Division.  “Unfortunately, violence and crime is part of the drug trade, which is why we will continue to work day and night to get these dangerous and greedy people off our streets.” 

This case was investigated by the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department; the Drug Enforcement Administration; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives; and the Internal Revenue Service. 

Kansas City Field Division