SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – A St. Louis man appeared in federal court Tuesday and admitted to his role in a drug trafficking operation in the Springfield, Missouri, area.

Prosecutors with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Missouri said Alphonso Battle, 55, sold and distributed heroin from Sept. 1, 2012, to April 3, 2017.

Battle recounted one particular incident to the court, in which he traveled from St. Louis to Springfield on April 6, 2016, to deliver heroin to a co-defendant, identified as Roosevelt Simpson.

Federal agents were surveilling Simpson’s home when Battle arrived around 10 p.m. According to court documents, Battle was seen getting something from his trunk to bring to Simpson, and that’s when agents attempted to arrest him.

Battle ran through the backyard of Simpson’s neighbor to evade authorities. He was arrested hours later.

The following morning, Simpson’s neighbor called local police and told them he’d found a canister with a false bottom in his yard. A police detective went to the home to retrieve the canister, and discovered 63 grams of heroin and 72 capsules of Dormin (a known cutting agent).

Simpson was arrested and later pleaded guilty to drug trafficking conspiracy and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug-trafficking crime. He was sentenced to 20 years in federal prison without the possibility of parole.

For his part, Battle pleaded guilty to drug trafficking conspiracy. He faces between five and 40 years in prison without parole. His sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the U.S. Probation Office completes a pre-sentencing investigation.

Prosecutors said Battle is the eighth and final defendant in the case to plead guilty. The other seven co-defendants all pleaded guilty and have already been sentenced.