Archive for Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Conspiracy laws help take out drug ring

August 30, 2006


A Lawrence man is facing at least a decade in prison after admitting in federal court that he was what prosecutors call a "low-level courier" for a local crack cocaine dealing ring.

The plea entered by 37-year-old James William Beltch shows how federal conspiracy laws can be used to charge anyone who commits an "overt act" toward helping distribute the drug, even if they're not in charge or reaping the financial benefits.

"We're using the conspiracy laws that were created basically to take out whole organizations, rather than just this dealer or that dealer," said Sgt. Tarik Khatib, head of the city-county drug unit, which investigated the case with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.

Beltch was one of nine people charged this spring with conspiracy to distribute crack cocaine between March 2004 and April 2006 in an operation that police said involved drug sales near Kennedy and Woodlawn schools. Most recently, police said, some of the men were operating out of a small home at 514 Locust St. in North Lawrence, a block from Woodlawn School.

Charges against Beltch's eight co-defendants are pending in U.S. District Court in Kansas City, but he bolstered prosecutors' cases by naming all of them in his plea as co-conspirators.

According to U.S. Atty. Eric Melgren's office, Beltch allowed his home "to be used for drug trafficking or made deliveries of crack cocaine in return for personal-use quantities of crack cocaine."

He admitted driving for a co-defendant, Don Marcus Gibler, and holding crack in a cigarette pack for him while they made deliveries, according to the plea.

Khatib said anytime there's a group of people arrested in a case like this, it makes an impact on the drug trade and reduces nuisances and other related crimes in the area where they operated.

"For a time, anyway, it's a disruption in the flow of narcotics through Lawrence," he said.

Still, Khatib said the demand for crack is as strong in Lawrence as it was a decade ago when he started working drug cases.

"My personal opinion is that if you wanted to stop the drug trade, people would have to stop using the drug. As long as people are using it, somebody's going to be selling it, period," he said. "I see just as much, or more, crack now than I did then, and in greater quantities now than I did then."

Khatib said his objective with the drug unit is to create enough "heat" to contain the problem so that would-be dealers don't see Lawrence as an attractive place to sell.

"There will always be more crack dealers, but what we try to do is minimize the number of crack dealers," he said.

Beltch pleaded guilty Monday to one count of possession with intent to distribute crack cocaine. He will be sentenced Nov. 20 and faces between 10 years and life in prison.

In addition to Gibler, those charged in the case are Aharlock Fixico, Branden Scott Walker, Carl Ray Roubison, Ryan Ezell Fowler, Lonnie Ray Teichmann, John Burke Holt and Ryan Lavelle Green.


prioress 11 years, 10 months ago

Apparently, they intend to use the same tactics against the tobacco industry.

oldgoof 11 years, 10 months ago

Why aren't these people prosecuted under state law by our local DA?

goodguy24 11 years, 10 months ago

I knew these guys; all trash! They deserve every bit of sentence they get. They destroyed countless families here in Lawrence and they are definately in the right place - jail/prison

webmocker 11 years, 10 months ago

When the law enforcement community starts saying legalization is the answer, perhaps the people will elect a government that will listen.

And, indeed, that is happening:

AlisonNicole 11 years, 10 months ago

That is my brother you are talking about and my mother's son. Don Gibler. No respect for the families! Oh and if I just say something about somebody " Conspiracy" they can go to jail just like that huh? Oh good guy, you must be a cop. My brother is NOT trash. Thank you very much..

daniellekriner 11 years, 10 months ago

To"mr.goodguy"if you knew these guys then you would know that they had families too!namely being Don Gibler and he is FAR from TRASH and you can ask his 3 beautiful sons if you don't think so.people make mistakes and it is only for" GOD" to judge not you nor our FAULTY! judicial system!DON'T DO DRUGS!OR SELL THEM!STICK TO MOLESTING CHILDREN,RAPING WOMEN,AND MUDERING INOCENT PEOPLE YOU'LL GET LESS TIME!to Alison nicole,MoM, DON MARCUSAND OUR BEAUTIFUL BOYS MUCH "RESPECT"!!AND LOVE WE ARE A WONDERFUL FAMILY!!!!!!!!to the rest,... we pray for you all.

fitzbr 11 years, 10 months ago

Strange Mr. Goodguy24 should know all those guys, quite varied in age and background. I think he has the wrong moniker, obviously self-righteous and intolerant making judgments so easily. I happen to know one of them extremely well, known of his struggle as a user/addict and also know his character which is that of a kind and compassionate person and I know without a doubt that his moral and ethical standards are considerable. Like alcoholism, the propensity to cocaine addiction is biochemically individual with much variation and some individuals are nearly helpless from their first use. It is not a reflection of their will power or morality and is a medical condition. The use of conspiracy laws, the outrageous 100 to 1 count of crack vs. powder and the use of prior convictions for drug addiction cases is shameful. It results in draconian sentences for low level users which more or less destroys their lives, while ignoring the big guys. All upper level cocaine transactions are powder which is turned to crack only at the last moment at the street level for distribution in the hood. The very nature of addiction (including alcoholism) implies to anyone with common sense that people generally fall off the wagon a few times. Increasing sentences up to life for falling off the wagon even once is totally absurd to anyone knowing the nature of addiction. The "lock'em up and throw away the key" crowd are thinly disguised Nazi who really mean let's eliminate them. They just are afraid of the term "extermination camp" yet, but are working toward that direction. Mr. Goodguy apparently fails in compassion, objective consideration of known research about addiction and thinks the word tolerant is pinko. Hysterical conclusions about ruined lives should also consider the families and loved ones of addicts who suffer greatly because of this current absurd approach to the problem. I think you are a lying braggart and hopefully not a member of law enforcement. If you are, we are all in trouble.

mrswhite 11 years, 10 months ago

Just keep your heads up to the Marcus Gibler family. Our judicial system will always be messed up. Danielle, Just hold it down and raise those beautiful children of yours. I will definitely keep your family in my prayers.

mrswhite 11 years, 9 months ago

No, it's called trolling for sympathy for the family and children. Good family, I'm sure!

AlisonNicole 11 years, 9 months ago

Mrs. White thank you, and bless you and we do have a wonderful family. Right now the center piece is missing:(My big brother...

Oh and Mr. Ramirez you need to shut your mouth and go back to School if it isn't too late... Every one has an opinion, but you just amiss.. Look that up..

Love you Bro! So does mom:)

jayhawk72 11 years, 9 months ago

Stop wasting tax payers money and pull them out of jail and give them jobs that will pay enough in this crappy town to help them support thier families. This town is so damn cheap when it comes to wages its no wonder people turn to other means of support. Hell even the state support is cheap. Alison and Danielle...our thoughts are with you and yours. Keep up the fight!! Lawrences Law enforcement is crooked and warped...and what goes around WILL come around. I say fire them all and start with all new recruits. ESPECIALLY those officers that laugh and poke fun at citizens that are in courtrooms taking care of thier wrong doings...and I hope you are reading this you a!?holes. Have a nice day and dont forget to SALUTE the Nazi cops of this town. :o)

fitzbr 11 years, 9 months ago


It is apparent that you are off somewhere. Your quote has nothing to do with the individual I referenced, d he was not even in Lawrence during most of the period you quoted and has no charges related to school zones. The action of this group was not that of a coordinated ring and the actions most of those involved were independent of the others and not necessarily known to them. Do you think that a single underaged individual was approached and asked to buy crack? Do you think that any children were even aware of the activity near the school? I do not support the use of this drug in any way but disagree with the methods used by the criminal justice system, more intent on publicity than going after the big guys. The media tends to carry sensational stories resulting in hysterical and inaccurate views by the average individual to busy to really study the situation. The right wingers like you jump on the band wagon of tough on crime for political reasons. You jump to conclusions about individuals lives with hysterical assumptions not supported at all by the facts. How many families do you really think were ruined by this small group of unorganized people, most only in it to get by for themselves? Those who bought were begging for it and and still there buying it as always. Get in the real world why don't you.

jayhawk72 11 years, 9 months ago

dont we have an officer Ramirez on the LPD? must be reading these comments to do a little......investigating? hahahahaha loooooooooooser

jayhawk72 11 years, 9 months ago

One more comment and then I'll leave this alone. Why are they being given such steep sentences for thier crimes that took place near a school when the sex offenders and child rapists are being released and allowed to roam freely? My concern is that these guys weren't approaching ANY children to make a sale. BUT a pedophile WILL approach a many cases of a child rapist or pedophile have had 'relapses'. Dont use the schools as another way to tack on more time. Put the real threats to our children in prison and KEEP them there. Education is the key to the 'war on drugs' get the sex crime FREAKS off the street. Have a nice day :o) Dont forget to SALUTE your cop today...hahahahahahaha down with the Nazi's!!!!!!!!!

dthroat 11 years, 9 months ago

mothermojo- THANK YOU. Finally some words of sense on this thread, and obviously from someone who knows these people and isn't in "love" with them and wanting to make excuses for them.

Rather than rant and rave, I will just say thank you again. Strong words from someone who knows the players.

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