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Columbia police arrest 2017 homicide suspect


Columbia police arrested a suspect in the December 2017 home invasion homicide and robbery of a Columbia man.

On Monday, police arrested Jeffrey McWilliams, 28, for second-degree murder, first-degree robbery and armed criminal action.

Columbia police responded after 3:30 a.m. on Dec. 11, 2017, for a suspicious person in the 1900 block of Lasso Circle. Once on scene, police found Augustus Roberts, 28, unconscious and not breathing. Medical personnel on the scene later pronounced Roberts dead.

According to the release, investigators believed this home invasion was drug-related and this residence was targeted by the suspects. Details on why police suspect McWillaims remain slim Tuesday night. Charges have not been publicly filed against McWilliams and a probable cause statement is unavailable until that happens.

McWilliams was the former owner of Let's Roll, a now-closed ice cream shop in east Columbia. He was also featured on the Food Network show "Restaurant: Impossible" while working at McLanks on Paris Road in 2019. Representatives at McLanks did not return messages for comment on Tuesday.

In May 2019, an investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration alleges the homicide was tied to a drug trafficking scheme. The DEA alleges Roberts was “involved in trafficking high-grade marijuana.” In the ensuing years, federal prosecutors have charged at least 39 people tied to a nationwide marijuana-selling operation. Those charged include Coffee Zone owner Osama Yanis and his son, Nader, as well as former state lobbyist Eapen Thampy, who focused on marijuana-related issues.

Officials report about 800 pounds of marijuana was stolen from a U-Haul truck parked in the driveway, according to the documents. However, law enforcement only found 94 pounds of marijuana in the U-Haul and about 3,199 THC oil pens in the U-Haul and in Roberts’ residence.

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Karl Wehmhoener


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