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Monday, Oct. 20, 2014

Sikeston mother and son sentenced

Friday, July 23, 2004

SIKESTON - Calling it a great day for the city of Sikeston and Southeast Missouri, Sikeston Department of Public Safety Director Drew Juden welcomed the sentencing by federal authorities of a Sikeston mother and her son on drug trafficking charges.

Ella Sumlin, 70, was sentenced to 60 months on one felony count of conspiracy to distribute cocaine. Elliott Sumlin, 33, was sentenced to 135 months on one felony count of conspiracy to distribute cocaine base.

"I think this closes the book on this particular family and investigations," said Juden. "We have the majority of them in custody and either they have been sentenced or are going to be sentenced."

From around June 2001 to Sept. 11, 2002, Ella Sumlin, Wayne Sumlin, Rufus Sumlin III, Eldridge Sumlin, Elliott Sumlin and others agreed to possess cocaine with the intent to distribute. As part of their agreement, according to court information, Eldridge, Elliott and Rufus Sumlin and others traveled to Kansas City, Mo., to obtain cocaine to bring back to Sikeston. In Sikeston the powdered cocaine was converted into cocaine base or "crack" cocaine which was then distributed by various members of the conspiracy.

As part of the conspiracy, law enforcement officials proved Ella Sumlin wired $1,000 to Kansas City on June 30, 2002, to purchase cocaine. Also on multiple occasions she allowed her residence at 331 Westgate to be used to store the cocaine and convert the powdered cocaine to cocaine base.

Also Sumlin admitted she personally received distributable quantities of cocaine base from one or more of the co-conspirators.

Juden said with the sentencing of Ella and Elliott Sumlin this brings to an end the tens of thousands of hours his department and other agencies including the SEMO Drug Task Force, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Scott County Sheriff's Department, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and local, state and federal prosecutors spent on the investigation. The officer called the level of cooperation between the agencies as unprecedented to bring about the arrests of the family members.

The agencies also worked together to confiscate property acquired by the families.

U.S. Attorney James G. Martin also praised the cooperation and work by the various agencies on the case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Larry H. Ferrell handled the prosecution.

According to Juden, the family's criminal activities had an adverse effect on Sikeston for years. "I think they are part of the reason at one time we were labeled the drug capital of Southeast Missouri," he said. "Through their sale of narcotics in the area, they were responsible for who knows how many crimes associated with drug trafficking."

Summing up the case and the crimes Juden concluded: "I think the point is, hopefully, their reign of terror is over. My pledge is never to let anyone get as entrenched in this community with criminal activity as they did."