Federal Jury Convicts St. Paul Man For Cocaine Possession

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MINNEAPOLIS – A federal jury convicted a St. Paul man for drug possession with intent to distribute after being arrested with six kilograms of cocaine in his vehicle, announced Acting U.S. Attorney W. Anders Folk.

Following a four-day trial before Judge Ann D. Montgomery, John Sheldon Pickens, Jr. was convicted on one count of possession with intent to distribute cocaine.

According to the evidence presented at trial, during the early morning hours of November 1, 2019, officers with the St. Paul Police Department initiated a traffic stop of Pickens’s vehicle. Pickens initially pulled his vehicle over but then accelerated away and led police on a high-speed chase for several miles through the city of St. Paul. Officers were ultimately able to stop him on the Lafayette Bridge and take him into custody. Officers searched the vehicle and found six packages of cocaine that had a combined weight of approximately six kilograms.

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Pickens faces a 10-year mandatory minimum prison sentence. At sentencing, a federal district court judge will determine any sentence after taking into account the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors. A sentencing date has yet to be scheduled.


This case was the result of an investigation conducted by the Homeland Security Investigations, the Saint Paul Police Department, and the Minnesota State Patrol.

This case was tried by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Amber M. Brennan and Joseph S. Teirab.

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