A federal jury Monday convicted two Lawrence men on charges of conspiracy to counterfeit money and drug trafficking in connection with a 2010 raid east of Lawrence.
U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom said a Kansas City, Kan., jury convicted Don Milton Steele, 52, of six total counts including possession with intent to distribute more than 50 grams of methamphetamine. Jurors also convicted Randy J. Dyke, 51, of six counts.
According to Grissom’s office, prosecutors presented evidence that Steele in 2009 developed a plan to pay for a large shipment of marijuana with counterfeit money and that he and Dyke set up a house he owned in Topeka for the counterfeiting.
Steele provided stolen checkbooks, identification documents and credit cards. The checks were used to purchase equipment for the operations, and in February 2010 Dyke passed what he believed to be one of the counterfeit bills at Harper Corner Liquor, 2200 Harper St.
Prosecutors said also that month Steele directed Dyke and another man to retrieve $10,000 in counterfeit money and more than 50 grams of methamphetamine that Steele and Dyke had conspired to have manufactured from the Topeka house.
Also that month, authorities raided Steele’s residence, 1706 N. 1500 Road. The property was also home to All Seasons Tree Service, a business Steele owned. After the raid, Steele’s family sold the property, which contained a house, as well as dozens of old cars and trucks.
Robert D. Billinger, 35, of Missouri, pleaded guilty to a conspiracy charge in June, and Anthony Wayne Sims, also of Lawrence, pleaded guilty to the same conspiracy count last October. Kimberly M. Cline, 44, of Lawrence, also pleaded guilty to fraud in June in connection with the case.
In pre-trial motions defense attorneys for Steele and Dyke had claimed an undercover officer, not their clients, came up with the plan to manufacture methamphetamine.
Steele and Dyke are scheduled to be sentenced Nov. 14.