Sentences From "Operation Cesar's Palace" Total 682 Months
MUSKOGEE, OKLAHOMA – The United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Oklahoma announced the sentencing of eleven defendants as a result of a multi-agency investigation referred to as “Operation Cesar’s Palace.” They were indicted on March 22, 2018, and were sentenced on various dates from April 2019 to October 2019 following their guilty pleas or jury verdicts and the completion of pre-sentence reports for each.
Those sentenced were: Waylon Lee Williams, age 38, of Stilwell; Chassidy Dawn Burke, age 38, of Stilwell; Jesse Ryan Catron, age 39, of Stilwell; Evonnie Marie Simmons, age 38, of Stilwell; Josh Caleb Simmons, age 39, of Stilwell; Amber Rae Kirk, age 38, of Lincoln, Arkansas; Carl Alvin Cushing, age 61, of Westville; Megan Charise Watkins, age 27, of Stilwell; Kris Lee Hall, age 41, of Stilwell; Sharon Eloise Davis, age 53, of Bunch; and Donnie Dean Burke, age 36, of Westville. A twelfth individual named in the indictment, Brianna Deanyae Smith, age 49, of Westville, was acquitted at a jury trial of the charge of Drug Conspiracy, on January 25, 2019.
Each defendant was sentenced for Drug Conspiracy pursuant to 21 United States Code Section 846. Williams was sentenced on October 8, 2019 to 125 months in prison and 5 years’ supervised release. Chassidy Dawn Burke was sentenced on June 26, 2019 to 21 months in prison and 3 years’ supervised release. Catron was sentenced on October 8, 2019 to 46 months in prison and 5 years’ supervised release. Evonnie Marie Simmons was sentenced on October 10, 2019 to 51 months in prison and 5 years’ supervised release. Josh Caleb Simmons was sentenced on August 14, 2019 to 51 months in prison and 5 years’ supervised release. Kirk was sentenced on May 15, 2019 to 21 months in prison and 3 years’ supervised release. Cushing was sentenced on October 9, 2019 to 180 months in prison and 10 years’ supervised release. Watkins was sentenced on June 27, 2019 to 33 months in prison and 3 years’ supervised release. Hall was sentenced on October 9, 2019 to 121 months in prison and 5 years’ supervised release. Davis was sentenced on April 17, 2019 to 15 months in prison and 3 years’ supervised release. Donnie Dean Burke was sentenced on May 15, 2019 to 18 months in prison and 3 years’ supervised release.
The law enforcement agencies involved in the investigation were the Drug Enforcement Administration (“DEA”), the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics (“OBN”), the National Guard Counterdrug Task Force, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the U.S. Marshals Service, the Cherokee Nation Marshal Service, the Oklahoma Highway Patrol, the District 27 District Attorney’s Drug Task Force, the Adair County Sheriff’s Office, the Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office, the Stilwell Police Department, the Broken Arrow Police Department, the Tulsa Police Department., and the U.S. Attorney’s Office. The investigation was coordinated by the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (“OCDETF”) of the Eastern District of Oklahoma. OCDETF is an initiative led and coordinated by the Office of the United States Attorney.
“An investigation and prosecution of this magnitude cannot be accomplished without many cooperating law enforcement agencies. Much of the work by investigators and prosecutors alike did not happen during normal business hours. They worked late nights and weekends for months on end. Their dedication to this investigation and prosecution for the benefit of rural Oklahoma was inspiring,” said United States Attorney Brian J. Kuester. “We cannot lose sight of the fact that every year hundreds of Oklahomans die as a result of methamphetamine overdose. Drug trafficking organizations profit while communities deal with tragic outcomes caused by addiction. That is why investigations like this are so important.”
John Scott, DEA Assistant Special Agent in Charge Oklahoma City District Office said, “The remote location of targets and lack of law enforcement assets in rural Eastern Oklahoma allowed the Waylon Williams DTO to operate with impunity for many years. The combined efforts of federal, state, tribal, and local law enforcement resulted in the dismantlement of this organization, significantly impacting the distribution of methamphetamine in rural Eastern Oklahoma. Let this case serve as a reminder to the criminals in our community, your illegal activity will be brought to light and justice will be served.”
The Honorable Ronald A. White, U.S. District Judge in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Oklahoma, in Muskogee, presided over each of the sentencing hearings. The defendants will remain in custody pending transportation to the designated federal facility at which the non-parolable sentences will be served. Assistant United States Attorney Rob Wallace represented the United States.