Police this week are trying to round up a group of nine Lawrence men charged with distributing crack cocaine between 2004 and 2006, an operation that police say involved drug sales near two local elementary schools.
Most recently, police said, some of the men were operating early this year out of a small home at 514 Locust St. in North Lawrence, a block from Woodlawn School.
"All these people are intertwined and connected," said Sgt. Tarik Khatib, supervisor of the joint city-county Drug Enforcement Unit. "Some of them are dealers. Some of them are users that assisted in the dealing. They're all part of the organization that existed to sell crack."
As of Thursday, the following defendants had been arrested and ordered detained pending trial in U.S. District Court in Kansas City, Kan.:
¢ Don Marcus "Foo Boo" Gibler, 27, also known as Don Marcus Fowler.
¢ Branden Scott Walker, 21.
¢ Ryan Ezell "Red" Fowler, 24.
¢ Lonney Ray Teichmann, 46.
¢ James W. Beltch, 37.
The following men were still at large:
¢ Aharlock W. Fixico, 27, known as "Ejo."
¢ Carl Ray Roubison, 47.
¢ John Burke Holt, 39.
¢ Ryan Lavell "Quick" Green, 45.
Federal court, which a local prosecutor once likened to a "surgical ward" for problematic drug dealers, generally involves stiffer penalties for drug crimes compared with state courts.
Khatib said the local drug unit has built federal cases against roughly 70 people in the past three years.
"It's people that have been kind of a pain - selling drugs and other crimes associated with that," he said.
The common charge of conspiracy to distribute crack cocaine applies to all nine defendants in this case.
All of the men except Holt, Green and Beltch are charged with dealing cocaine in 2004 out of an apartment at 1401 E. 21st Terrace No. 4, within 1,000 feet of Kennedy School.
In addition, Gibler, Ryan Fowler, Holt and Green are charged with dealing cocaine in August 2004 out of a home at 3700 Hartford.
Gibler, Ryan Fowler and Green are charged with dealing cocaine out of the home at 514 Locust between January and February 2006.
Also, Holt is charged with illegally possessing two handguns despite a past conviction in 1992 for illegally having a machine gun.