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Department of Justice

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

For Immediate Release

Thursday, February 7, 2019
Timothy A. Garrison
, United States Attorney
Contact: Don Ledford

St. Louis Man Sentenced to 14 Years for Meth, Illegal Firearm

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – A St. Louis, Mo., man who was found passed out at an Oak Grove, Mo., truck stop after a week-long bender has been sentenced in federal court for illegally possessing methamphetamine and a firearm.


James P. Pettus, 40, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Brian C. Wimes on Wednesday, Feb. 6, 2019, to 14 years and two months in federal prison without parole.


On Sept. 26, 2018, Pettus pleaded guilty to possessing methamphetamine with the intent to distribute and to possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug-trafficking crime.


Pettus was contacted by an Oak Grove, Mo., police officer at Petro Truck Stop, 301 S.W. 1st Street, Oak Grove, on the morning of May 21, 2018. The officer was called because Pettus was passed out in a booth inside the Iron Skillet Restaurant. He was asleep and snoring, with his face and arms covered in saliva and snot. After many attempts to wake him, he would only advise that his name was James, and could not provide identification.


The officer called an ambulance for Pettus. While waiting for the ambulance, Pettus pulled a knife from his right rear pant pocket and flipped it open. The officer struggled briefly with Pettus to take away the knife and handcuff him. The officer then found a loaded High Point .45-caliber semi-automatic handgun in Pettus’s front waistband. Officers also found approximately 40.9 grams of pure methamphetamine in Pettus’s left front pocket.


Pettus later told detectives he had been on a methamphetamine-fueled bender for the past week.


This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Joseph M. Marquez. It was investigated by the Oak Grove, Mo., Police Department, the Jackson County Drug Task Force 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