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Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
Western District of Missouri
For Immediate Release
Teresa A. Moore, United States Attorney
Thursday, December 22, 2022

Owner of Rockstar Burgers Pleads Guilty to Making Restaurant Available to Drug Traffickers in $1.7 Million Conspiracy

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The owner of the Rockstar Burgers restaurant in Kansas City, Mo., has pleaded guilty in federal court to allowing his former restaurant building to be used in a drug trafficking conspiracy that is alleged to have distributed more than 150 kilograms of methamphetamine and more than 10 kilograms of heroin, valued at more than $1.7 million.

Brian Douglas Smith, 45, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Roseann Ketchmark on Wednesday, Dec. 21, to maintaining a drug-involved premises.

By pleading guilty, Smith admitted that he made the building in the city’s West Bottoms, which housed Rock Star Burgers, his part-time residence, a loft, and associated spaces, available to a drug-trafficking organization. Smith knew the drug-trafficking organization used the building for storing and distributing methamphetamine, collecting for methamphetamine sales, and other methamphetamine distribution activities, including the possession, storage, and use of firearms.

Smith’s role, according to the plea agreement, was only in maintaining the building premises for the drug-trafficking organization’s use.

Smith is among 17 defendants in this case who have pleaded guilty or have guilty pleas scheduled. Two of those co-defendants have been sentenced and the rest await sentencing. One co-defendant is scheduled to go to trial on June 5, 2023.

Matthew John Fabulae, 33, of Kansas City, Mo., was sentenced on March 14, 2022, to 15 years in federal prison without parole. The court also ordered Fabulae to forfeit to the government $44,000 based on his distribution of at least five kilograms of methamphetamine during the conspiracy. Fabulae pleaded guilty to his role in the drug-trafficking and money-laundering conspiracies; he also pleaded guilty to one count of possessing firearms in furtherance of a drug-trafficking crime, one count of being a drug user in possession of a firearm, and one count of possessing methamphetamine with the intent to distribute.

Amy Leann Nieman, 51, of Moorseville, Mo., was sentenced on Feb. 25, 2022, to nine years in federal prison without parole after pleading guilty to her role in the drug-trafficking and money-laundering conspiracies and to possessing firearms during a drug-trafficking crime.

Under federal statutes, Smith is subject to a sentence of up to 20 years in federal prison without parole. Under the terms of his plea agreement, the government and Smith will recommend to the court that he pay a $15,000 fine in lieu of a money judgment or other financial assessments or forfeitures. The maximum statutory sentence is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes, as the sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the court based on the advisory sentencing guidelines and other statutory factors. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the completion of a presentence investigation by the United States Probation Office.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Bruce Rhoades, Robert Smith, Maureen Brackett, and Byron Black.  It was investigated by the Springfield and Kansas City, Mo., Police Departments, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Buchanan County Drug Strike Force, the Missouri State Highway Patrol, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and the Clay County, Mo., Sheriff's Department.

Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force

This case is part of the Department of Justice’s Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) program.  The OCDETF program is the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s drug supply reduction strategy.  OCDETF was established in 1982 to conduct comprehensive, multilevel attacks on major drug trafficking and money laundering organizations.  Today, OCDETF combines the resources and expertise of its member federal agencies in cooperation with state and local law enforcement.  The principal mission of the OCDETF program is to identify, disrupt, and dismantle the most serious drug trafficking organizations, transnational criminal organizations, and money laundering organizations that present a significant threat to the public safety, economic, or national security of the United States.

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