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Archive for Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Million-dollar meth seizure just one example of drug war in Douglas County

August 6, 2013

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When police announced the seizure of $1 million worth of methamphetamine in Douglas County earlier this week, the case was remarkable because it was the largest meth bust ever in the area.

But, though it often goes unremarked, large amounts of cash, drugs, and guns have been seized from homes in Lawrence in previous cases by a special unit within law enforcement tasked with such investigations.

The details and scope of the raids are typically shrouded from public view, but court documents show that local drug enforcement officers have carried out at least six search warrants on Lawrence residences over the past year, in which they seized about $70,000 in cash, as well as 10 guns.

As in the case of last week’s high-dollar methamphetamine seizure, authorities typically decline to discuss the operations of the Douglas County Drug Enforcement Unit, citing the protection of undercover officers and the needs of long-term investigations, according to Sgt. Trent McKinley, a Lawrence Police Department spokesman.

When the unit's police officers and sheriff's deputies seize drugs and cash in the course of such investigations, they often do not immediately arrest suspects or make any information public. Instead, it could be months or years before the police action results in a major federal case.

Until then, much of the unit's activities will be closed to public view, as investigative documents supporting search warrants and arrests are not open records in Kansas, unlike elsewhere in the country. Some of these raids become public record when charges are filed, or when the drug enforcement unit makes a civil case in Douglas County District Court to seize cash that officers confiscated as alleged drug proceeds.

Money, guns and drugs

Among the larger cases this year, the unit seized $23,866 in cash from an apartment in the 900 block of Indiana St. on Feb. 7 after searching the residence on suspicion of marijuana dealing, according to court documents. One man at the residence is now facing a felony charge involving the alleged drug proceeds.

In some cases, as in the seizure a year ago of $7,402 in alleged marijuana-dealing proceeds, plus a Sig Sauer 40-caliber handgun, from a home in the 1300 block of E. 13th St., charges may be filed locally and dropped. In other cases, charges aren’t immediately filed even when the evidence appears to be compelling.

During a search of a residence in the 2600 block of W. Sixth St. this past December, officers discovered two pounds of ecstasy and methamphetamine and seized two handguns along with $9,274 in cash. A man and a woman living at the residence have not been arrested or charged, but the Kansas Department of Revenue did serve both of them with a tax warrant demanding $356,400 in unpaid taxes on alleged marijuana dealing.

Elsewhere in Douglas County this year, the unit seized $5,929 and a 9mm handgun after confiscating $12,762 in cash and seven guns, including shotguns, rifles and handguns, from unidentified locations last November.

According to state law, the investigating agency that seized the property keeps it, if the case is not contested in court, as in these examples. The agency is first required to publish notice of the seizures in the local newspaper of record, as the Douglas County unit does in the Journal-World.

Watching and waiting

Whether some of these cases might be part of a much larger case isn’t known, and authorities prefer not to comment on ongoing investigations. Some, like a Lawrence resident caught with $25,376 in cash at his home in the 1300 block of Jana Drive in 2011, might spend nearly two years in court before pleading no contest to possession of marijuana with intent to distribute.

Other cases, like last week’s seizure of almost 25 pounds of methamphetamine, could be part of a larger drug investigation meant for federal prosecution. Last year, an investigation by local and federal law enforcement went on for more than a year before leading to the arrests and convictions of several Lawrence residents in an alleged marijuana ring linking Lawrence with Northern California. That case still is ongoing in federal court.

Often, the delay in such cases stems from investigators’ hope that suspects, once implicated in a criminal case, will cooperate with authorities in hopes of reduced sentences or favorable plea agreements.

In the meantime, any drug dealers associated with such activities can only do the same as the rest of us: wait to see what happens.

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Drug-related seizures in Lawrence


View Drug-related seizures in Lawrence in a larger map

While a $1 million methamphetamine seizure in Douglas County, announced Monday, grabbed attention for its unprecedented size, many other drug-related raids and seizures often go unnoticed in Lawrence. Authorities have seized at least $70,000 in cash, and 10 guns, during investigations in Lawrence over the past year.

Comments

bearded_gnome 1 year, 4 months ago

did serve both of them with a tax warrant demanding $356,400 in unpaid taxes on alleged marijuana dealing.

---$356K, hat's one heckuva lot of taxes!

enough to push them into the Tea Party.

bearded_gnome 1 year, 4 months ago

Enough with the inane questions!!! I think I've answered this one or some form of it at least three times!

Please answer a question to continue reading this page. question 1 of up to 2: Are you planning to shop for a new smartphone in the next six months?

Definitely not Probably not Most likely Yes, definitely

or Share the page you're reading:

Ken Harris 1 year, 4 months ago

Totally agree. Completely useless BS designed to drive readers away.

Kyle Chandler 1 year, 4 months ago

OH WOW! look at those stats! I think we are winning the war on drugs in Lawrence!

(sarcasm)

bearded_gnome 1 year, 4 months ago

Often, the delay in such cases stems from investigators’ hope that suspects, once implicated in a criminal case, will cooperate with authorities in hopes of reduced sentences or favorable plea agreements.

In the meantime, any drug dealers associated with such activities can only do the same as the rest of us: wait to see what happens.

---or ... they'll run/hide/commit more crime. I do appreciate the need to "turn" some to catch others. however, seems like sometimes running a lot of risk to let the clock run.

bearded_gnome 1 year, 4 months ago

kharrisbob
Ken Harris 23 minutes ago

Totally agree. Completely useless BS designed to drive readers away.

---yeah! you got that right Ken. think was sunday nigh, I had to fight through a huge number of these stupid questions to read/post, something like a dozen of these "questions" often poorly worded, bunch of them were questions about illegal immigration without representative answer choices. in other words the choices seemed to try to steer the answer without providing a full range of options.

fifth graders writing these?

no, they'd do a better job.

koman 1 year, 4 months ago

I suppose you could send a check to the World Company to pay for the content they have created, posted on a site they maintain and pay for (not to mention, provide a forum for you to rant on). Nothing is free, and if it is, you are the product.

nick_s 1 year, 4 months ago

Follow the money. Law enforcement is allowed to keep any confiscated funds. That provides alot of incentive for over zealous searches & prosecution. I cant argue that any of these people should be on the streets & allowed to continue on poisoning people with the likes of meth, cocaine, ecstacy, oxycontin, etc, but one does have to question the real motive behind LEO when they are allowed to keep any unclaimed funds. The war on drugs as we know it will continue when it perpetuates itself in this fashion.

Food_for_Thought 1 year, 4 months ago

That must be why Lawrence PD already has that $30 million building they've been asking for.

LWbored 1 year, 4 months ago

How can Kansas collect tax money on criminal activity? I haven't heard of that before!

I wish they would publish these Meth addicts pictures. The buyers and the sellers and their houses. I don't care about weed, but Meth costs the community a lot of money.

LJ World... I'll look at ads, but your intrusive questions are a bit strange and confused me. At first I thought your articles were just REALLY short. Why the questions?

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