ST. LOUIS – A Bridgeton man appeared in federal court on Monday and admitted to dealing fentanyl and shooting a teenager in downtown St. Louis in 2022.
Prosecutors with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Missouri said John Whitney, 21, pleaded guilty to one count of possession with intent to distribute fentanyl and one count of possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.
Whitney told the court that he sold fentanyl to an undercover Drug Enforcement Administration agent in April 2022 and that a court-ordered search of his apartment resulted in the discovery of drugs and guns.
Whitney had a Glock pistol with a conversion kit or “switch” that made the pistol fully automatic. He also had three AR-style rifles, a .45-caliber pistol, as well as raw fentanyl in a plastic bag and capsules containing the drug.
According to the plea deal, Whitney was selling drugs outside a loft on Washington Avenue on March 13, 2022. After walking back to the lobby and heading to the elevators, Whitney admitted using the fully automatic Glock to shoot and kill a 16-year-old.
Whitney claimed the teen pulled his gun first and that he only acted in self-defense. Surveillance video from the hotel shows both Whitney and the 16-year-old pulling their guns simultaneously. Whitney also exchanged shots with the teen’s compatriot before both ran off.
Whitney will be sentenced on Feb. 13, 2024. He faces up to 20 years in prison and a $1 million fine for the fentanyl charge. The firearm charge carries a sentence of five years to life imprisonment plus a $250,000 fine.
Correction: Story has been updated with the correct name for the defendant. We regret the error.