Cahokia man gets 25-year sentence for running local drug operation

A Cahokia man arrested and charged in connection with a years-long drug investigation and who police say attempted to intimidate a witness from his jail cell was sentenced to 25 years in federal prison Wednesday.

According to Acting U.S. Attorney for Southern Illinois James Porter, Ayiko L. Paulette, 40, was sentenced after previously pleading guilty to charges of conspiring to distribute controlled substances, maintaining a drug-involved premises, being a felon in possession of firearms, distribution of cocaine, interstate travel in support of racketeering and conspiring to obstruct justice.

Following the 25-year prison stint, Paulette will be on probation for 10 years. He also must pay an $8,000 fine and $800 in other fees.

Court papers show Paulette was a leader in the Waverly Crips gang and was under investigation from 2007 until his arrest in 2014. During that time, he imported and sold cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine. He also operated a drug house in East St. Louis that in 2013 was the site of a gun battle between rival gang members. In the aftermath of that shootout, police seized assault rifles and other firearms from the house.

After Paulette was arrested, police say he directed others to intimidate a potential witness involved in the case.