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Department of Justice

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

For Immediate Release

Tuesday, October 16, 2018
Timothy A. Garrison
, United States Attorney
Contact: Don Ledford

KC Man Sentenced to 23 Years for Meth Conspiracy

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – A Kansas City, Mo., man was sentenced in federal court today for his role in a meth-trafficking conspiracy that resulted in a fatal shooting.


James P. Roberts, 27, was sentenced by U.S. Chief District judge Greg Kays to 23 years and six months in federal prison without parole.


Roberts pleaded guilty on Feb. 1, 2018, to conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine. Co-defendant Marcell Shavers, 28, of Kansas City, was sentenced on Aug. 15, 2018, to 40 years in federal prison without parole. Shavers was convicted at trial of participating in a conspiracy to possess methamphetamine with the intent to distribute.


On Jan. 1, 2014, Kansas City, Mo., police officers responded to a reported shooting. Upon arrival, they discovered the body of Jose Medellin, who had been fatally shot. They also found several shell casings at the scene as well as two plastic bags containing more than 55 grams of methamphetamine in Medellin’s possession. Roberts admitted that, while he possessed a handgun during the drug transaction, he never fired at Medellin. There was forensic evidence that Roberts never fired his gun that night.


The person who reported the shooting had gone to Discount Smokes on Independence Avenue to obtain some cigarettes. While at the store, he was approached by Roberts, who asked about obtaining methamphetamine. He replied that he knew a source and would set up a meeting.


The witness contacted Medellin, then picked up Roberts at Discount Smokes and they drove to Medellin’s apartment building. He told Medellin that Roberts wanted to buy $1,000 of methamphetamine, and Medellin told him to bring Roberts inside the apartment building. The three men met in the laundry room on the ground floor, but when a car alarm went off, the witness went out to shut it off. He could not re-enter the laundry because it locked automatically and could only be opened from the inside.


Although he could not reenter the building, the witness could see through the windows and saw Roberts with an unknown man, later identified as Shavers. He witnessed Medellin being shot. Medellin tried to run from the shooter but was unable to escape. Medellin was shot in the abdomen, turned to run, was shot in the right buttock, fell to the ground and was shot in the back while on the ground. After Medellin fell, the witness ran to a nearby Quik Trip and called the police.


This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jeffrey Valenti and Joseph M. Marquez. It was investigated by the Kansas City, Mo., Police Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.



This news release, as well as additional information about the office of the United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, is available on-line at






Kansas City Field Division