Suspected ‘high ranking’ drug trafficker arrested at KC house where 1 died, 3 officers shot

Federal prosecutors say one of those taken into police custody Tuesday night after an attempt to execute a search warrant ended with one dead and three gunshots from Kansas City officers is suspected of being a “high-ranking” drug trafficker.

Jimmie R. Lewis Jr., 50, was one of three people taken into police custody amid an 18-hour standoff that was handled by several law enforcement agencies. The standoff began Tuesday night after Kansas City police officers were fired upon as they entered the home to serve warrant, and then returned fire, authorities said.

On Wednesday afternoon, prosecutors charged Lewis with three felonies in the Western District of Missouri for previous alleged felonies unrelated to the shooting that took place Tuesday night. The charges stem from a separate police encounter that took place about 16 months ago in which Lewis was allegedly in possession of a firearm and about 400 grams of methamphetamine.

On November 7, 2021, Lewis was pulled over by an Independence police officer while driving a vehicle matching the description of a truck reported stolen. He allegedly fled the chase and chased police at high speed before the truck hit a curb and got a flat tire, then ran away.

Lewis was arrested after a brief foot chase, according to an affidavit prepared by a member of the Independence Police GUN Squad. He allegedly told police they would find a firearm and some “dope” in a backpack.

Lewis also reportedly volunteered as he served a total of 20 years in prison and had more than 30 prior felony convictions. Authorities allegedly found a handgun along with nine bags of meth.

Lewis was charged Wednesday with possession with intent to distribute meth, possession of a firearm in aid of drug trafficking and possession of a firearm as a convicted felon.

In a motion Wednesday asking for Lewis to be held without bail ahead of trial, prosecutors allege he poses a danger to the community, citing in part the “circumstances surrounding the defendant’s arrest” at the place where the three police officers were shot and injured on Tuesday. . He is also suspected of being a “senior member of an ongoing drug trafficking organization,” prosecutors say.

Lewis was ordered to be held in federal custody pending a detention hearing scheduled for Monday.

The standoff that began Tuesday ended after tactical officers entered the house at the 2300 block of Blue Ridge Boulevard near Kansas City’s border with Independence and unincorporated Jackson County.

It remained unclear on Wednesday night whether the man found dead in the home died during that gunfire with police. He was not immediately identified. A woman, who was unharmed, was also taken into police custody from the house.

The house search operation was led by the Jackson County Drug Task Force. The KCPD officers who were injured assisted in the service of the warrant.

Shortly after 9:30 p.m. Tuesday, officers knocked on the door of a home and identified themselves, police said. As they entered, someone fired at the officers, who then fired back.

The injured officers were taken to hospital by other officers at the scene. Police Chief Stacey Graves said early Wednesday morning that the injuries were not life-threatening and that officers were alert, awake and able to speak.

After the shooting, the standoff was later taken over by the Independence Police Department and then by the Missouri State Highway Patrol.

By 5:30 a.m. on Wednesday, two people, including Lewis, had left the house voluntarily. Officials used a drone and robot to search the house for others inside.

At around 4 p.m., SWAT teams with the highway patrol and the FBI entered the home and secured it, said Sgt. Andy Bell, an MSHP spokesperson.

Authorities would be on site for a few hours on Wednesday to examine the area for evidence.

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