Authorities this morning arrested a third Lawrence resident in a drug sweep that began Friday, and the Douglas County district attorney announced that he plans to prosecute each of the three in accordance with his new drug enforcement policy.
Richard Steward, 35, 2612 Moundview, was booked into the Douglas County Jail on a warrant containing two counts of selling cocaine and two counts of possessing cocaine.
At a first appearance today in Douglas County District Court, Steward was formally charged with two felony counts of selling cocaine. Each of the charges carries an alternative count of possessing cocaine.
A preliminary hearing was scheduled for Thursday.
Steward is one of five local residents who authorities announced Friday they were seeking on warrants stemming from a two-month investigation by the Lawrence-Douglas County Drug Enforcement Unit. The investigation included a series of undercover drug buys, authorities reported.
Marva Kimball, 40, 2508 Ousdahl, and Gloster Turner, 34, Lawrence, were arrested Friday. Preliminary hearings are scheduled for Thursday in those cases.
Authorities are still seeking the other two suspects.
The cases stemming from the drug sweep, which are among a handful of other drug-related cases that have been filed over the past four weeks, are the first to put Dist. Atty. Jim Flory's new enforcement policy to the test.
The month-old policy bans diversion agreements and severely limits the type of plea agreements that may be made in drug-related cases. Also, drug offenders will not be able to plead guilty to a lesser charge or plead "no contest" in a plea agreement.
Flory said that he will not deviate from the policy and will allow a plea agreement only if an offender pleads guilty to half or more of the charges. And even in such instances, he said, prosecutors will not accept an agreement that would limit their ability to make sentencing recommendations.
Kimball is charged with two felony counts of selling cocaine. Each charge carries an alternative felony count of possessing cocaine.
Turner is charged with a felony count of possessing cocaine along with a felony count of selling cocaine that carries an alternative felony count of delivering cocaine.
Flory said the charges against Kimball and Turner are Class C felonies and are punishable by prison terms of three to 10 years minimum and five to 20 years maximum.