Federal prosecutors are asking for a court order to seize and sell three parcels of Douglas County property with ties to two Lawrence residents indicted in a major drug-trafficking case.
According to court records, U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom’s office alleges the properties — including a large house under construction west of Lawrence — owned by Chad Bauman, 33, and Carey Willming, 36, were derived from proceeds from drug sales or intended to be used to facilitate commission of the crimes. Prosecutors also allege the properties were part of alleged money laundering defendants used to hide drug proceeds.
Thirty-five defendants, including Bauman, Willming and nine other Lawrence residents, are accused of working to distribute a mixture containing cocaine and more than 1,000 kilograms of marijuana from 2005 to June of this year. Many of the defendants in the case are from Douglas and Johnson counties.
Prosecutors are seeking a $16.9 million judgment in the case. They allege Bauman and fellow Lawrence resident Los Rovell Dahda, 30, made millions of dollars as leaders of the drug ring.
Federal prosecutors have focused mainly on seizing a home under construction at 1605 E. 550 Road, described in court records as a “large estate residence that defendants Bauman and Willming are building.”
According to a complaint in the case, a federal drug task force joined with the Internal Revenue Service in 2011 to investigate the finances of Bauman, who owned a carpet cleaning business in rural Lawrence, Dahda and others associated with them. The investigation included federal wire taps.
Both Bauman, who remains in custody in the case, and Willming have pleaded not guilty, as have all co-defendants.
Thomas G. Lemon, an attorney for Willming, has objected to the government’s request, saying Willming has not been convicted of any crime that would lead to a seizure and sale of the property. He said in his motion it was “believed that the residence and property may be worth in excess of $1 million.”
Willming’s defense attorney also said the property could be secured from the elements and argued the expense of keeping the property is “not excessive” while the matter is being resolved. A judge has not yet ruled on the issue.
A trial in the drug case will not occur before next June, and federal prosecutors have said more defendants could face indictment.
Prosecutors accused one of the defendants, Samuel Villeareal III, 31, with supplying marijuana to unnamed Kansas University men’s basketball players during the 2010-2011 season. Prosecutors only briefly addressed that at a detention hearing for Villeareal, who has Lawrence ties. Allegations involving players were not mentioned in an indictment in the case.