Steward Charles Rite, 64, of St. Louis, a prior offender, has been sentenced to 15 years in prison following felony drug offenses tied to two incidents in Festus, according to court records.
Rite, formerly of Farmington, pleaded guilty to drug distribution and drug possession, as well as to tampering with evidence in a felony prosecution, also a felony. On May 6, Jefferson County Div. 5 Circuit Judge Victor J. Melenbrink sentenced him to 15 years for the distribution charge, five years for the possession charge and four years for the tampering charge, with the terms to be served concurrently, or at the same time. However, he may be released early if he successfully completes a 24-month treatment program, the report said.
Jefferson County assistant prosecuting attorney Lindsay E. Whalen handled the case.
In January 2016, Rite was driving a 2001 Ford Taurus in Festus and was pulled over for failing to signal when he turned. Police searched the car and found seven clear bags containing a rocky substance and three clear bags with a white-powdery substance which turned out to be methamphetamine. In addition, Rite was found with $700 in cash, the probable-cause statement said.
In May 2016, Rite was at a home in the 900 block of Summit Street in Festus when police came with a search warrant and found narcotics and drug paraphernalia there. Rite admitted the narcotics and paraphernalia were his and that he was involved in selling drugs. He also told police he flushed crystal meth down a toilet as police entered the home, the report said.
Rite previously pleaded guilty to possession of a controlled substance stemming from a 2008 incident in Crystal City in 2008. He was sentenced to seven years in prison, but that sentence was suspended and he was placed on five years’ probation, court records said.
Rite is in the Ozark Correctional Center in Fordland.