ST. LOUIS – United States District Judge Ronnie L. White sentenced W.T. Cortez Lakes to 77 months in prison today. The 34-year-old St. Louis, Missouri resident pleaded guilty to one count of threatening to assault or murder federal officers and one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm.
Lakes boarded a MetroLink train, on November 24, 2018, without a valid ticket. Officers from the St. Louis County Police Department removed Lakes from the train for failing to produce a valid ticket. Lakes began acting suspicious while on the train platform and was repeatedly reaching into his pant pockets. As officers tried to do a pat-down search, Lakes turned and ran onto the railroad tracks. He left his backpack behind. A subsequent search of the backpack found a 9mm caliber semi-automatic handgun. It was loaded with 16 rounds and contained a magazine with a capacity for 18 rounds. Lakes, before November 24, 2018, was a convicted felon.
On November 26, 2018, Lakes called his probation officer to report the law enforcement contact. He admitted to her he was in possession of the firearm. This started a series of calls over eight days in which Lakes became increasingly agitated and stated he thought his supervision was going to be revoked. On December 3, 2018, Lakes left a voicemail with his probation officer. He stated he was “not going back to prison.” He warned, “When y’all come for me make sure y’all have your shit locked and loaded,” and “When y’all come don’t have y’all guns in your holsters cause I’m shooting, I’m shooting, I swear to God. I’m not playing man cause I’m not going back to prison.”
In making these threats, Lakes was threatening his probation officer and any officers of the United States Marshals Service who may come to arrest him on a supervised release revocation warrant.
“Simply, our office will not tolerate threats or violence directed toward those who have committed their lives to protecting our communities,” said Sayler A. Fleming, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Missouri. “Should you engage in such actionable behavior, we will aggressively and relentlessly prosecute you to fullest extent of the law.”
“Today, justice was served in the case of W.T. Lakes. When he made threats to kill federal law enforcement officers for carrying out their sworn duty, it did not deter us from doing our job and he committed a crime in doing so. W.T. Lakes will have ample time to reflect on this mistake while serving out his sentence at the Bureau of Prisons,” John Jordan, U.S. Marshal for the Eastern District of Missouri.
The United States Marshals Service and the St. Louis County Police Department investigated this case. Assistant United States Attorney Jason Dunkel is handling the case.