Shopping sprees, world travel end with St. Louis County man's sentence for marijuana trafficking

Shopping sprees, world travel end with St. Louis County man's sentence for marijuana trafficking

ST. LOUIS • A man from St. Louis County whose marijuana conspiracy funded a “lifestyle of luxury” that led to an appearance on a reality show and travel around the world was sentenced Friday to 15 years in prison.

U.S. District Judge Audrey Fleissig blasted Thomas G. “Tommy” Anderson Jr. for running his drug trafficking organization in an “arrogant and flaunting manner,” adding that she’d seen no remorse, no effort to turn his life around and nothing but a continuance of the arrogant manner since his indictment. She would later call it “appalling.”

Anderson, she said, had been raised in a good home with an opportunity to go to college, but instead used that opportunity to begin dealing marijuana to Mizzou students.

He would eventually supply thousands of pounds of high-grade pot to St. Louis and other cities.

Prosecutors say he used the proceeds to visit California; Boston; Cancun; the United Arab Emirates; Medellin, Columbia; and Sao Paolo, Brazil, where he stayed in “extravagant hotel suites” and went on “incredible shopping sprees” of as much as $12,000 a month on his Nordstrom credit card.

He spent money on bodyguards nicknamed “Bigg” and “Conflict,” and on gambling, tour buses and a twin-engine plane that he used to fly money and drugs around the country, they said, including to Creve Coeur Airport.

He also had pot shipped in storage pods, tires, water heaters, air compressors and furniture a co-defendant bought while antiquing in California.

Anderson’s lifestyle led him to Boston, where he dated aspiring actress and reality show star Noelle Trudeau. She broke up with him on her show, citing a lifestyle and friends that were “out of control.” Justin Gelfand, one of Anderson’s attorneys, asked for 10 years in prison, saying there was no evidence that Anderson possessed firearms, used violence or was a leader of the conspiracy.

Prosecutors disagreed, asking for the 24 to 30 years in prison recommended by federal sentencing guidelines.

Anderson deserved a lengthy sentence for the quantity of marijuana, prosecutors said, but also because he used bodyguards to assault a rival in California, and because he once threatened a man in a St. Louis nightclub with one of the Glock handguns he wore in twin shoulder holsters. He also had assault-style weapons, they said.

Assistant U.S. Attorney John Davis said Anderson flaunted his ill-gotten wealth.

Fleissig said that if 15 years in prison did not have an effect on Anderson, 20 or 24 years wouldn’t make a difference. She also said his co-defendants and defendants in other drug cases had gotten less than the sentence being recommended for Anderson.

Anderson is the last to be sentenced of more than 20 defendants originally charged in 2014 in two related indictments.

Many of those defendants came from St. Louis County , some from wealthy backgrounds that allowed them to attend private high schools in the area.

Years after he was charged, Anderson scheduled a guilty plea before backing out and going to trial in late July. That trial featured many of his co-defendants, as well as characters such as “Frankie Bushes,” a California marijuana dealer so named for his habit of jumping out of the bushes at random spots along the road when his associates wanted to meet.

Jurors in U.S. District Court in St. Louis took less than three hours to convict him of two counts: conspiracy to commit money laundering and conspiracy to distribute and possession with intent to distribute more than 1,000 kilograms of marijuana.

Anderson vigorously challenged the evidence in his case, switched attorneys and unsuccessfully claimed that misconduct by prosecutors and former attorneys should set him free. He’s also been captured on recorded phone calls from jail discussing his claims of a conspiracy against him, and insulting prosecutors and the judge using expletives, according to partial transcripts filed by prosecutors.

Fleissig chided Anderson in court Friday for his “obsession” with trying to demonstrate “wrongful things.”

She also ordered a $5 million judgment against Anderson to reflect his drug profits, meaning he owes the government that amount of money.