Missouri investigators who busted a massive cocaine-trafficking ring in the Springfield area reportedly got a surprise when they met the group's leader. Police discovered that the man was intelligent, polished businessman.

The 35-year-old man has been described as an unusual drug distributor because of his business savvy and extensive religious knowledge. He was described by officers as "intellectual," an assertion that was put to the test when the man chose to defend himself against drug charges in court.

Despite his efforts, however, the man was still convicted of the charges he faced. The man, along with his 25-year-old partner, was found guilty in a jury trial. They were convicted on all charges for their contribution to a conspiracy to sell large amounts of cocaine.

In total, about 15 people were indicted in relation to the drug sales operation. Most of them pled guilty, seeking reduced sentences for their cooperation.

Officers say that the man's operation was unusual because of its wide reach and varied clientele. Business professionals, unemployed individuals, college students and gang members all apparently purchased drugs from the man. Those populations were revealed after the dealer's phone was wiretapped, according to authorities. More than 50 people were contacted by police after they were identified by the wiretap records.

Springfield officials had spent more than a year investigating the man and his suspected dealings, finally executing three simultaneous raids on the man's houses. All three houses contained large amounts of cocaine, cash and illegal firearms, according to the officers involved in the busts.

Though the man at the heart of this case apparently possesses an above average intellect, choosing to defend himself may not have been the best decision. Drug busts, particularly ones precipitated by a major investigation, typically involve a lot of complex procedures that must be followed throughout the criminal process, from arrest to jury trial. An attorney is trained to understand the fundamental rights granted to everyone accused of a crime and is prepared to defend them. Had the circumstances of the trial been different, the outcome could have been more beneficial for the defendant.

Source: News-Leader, "Springfield drug ring's leader 'not your typical dope dealer,' investigator says," Jess Rollins, May 1, 2012.