A 33-year-old Lawrence man pleaded guilty to federal drug trafficking charges Friday in connection with a $16.9 million marijuana distribution ring that he allegedly organized with other Lawrence residents arrested last summer.
Chad Eugene Bauman pleaded guilty in federal court in Kansas City, Kan., to one count of conspiracy to distribute cocaine and marijuana and one count of organizing an ongoing criminal enterprise, according to court documents.
Bauman, who owned and operated a carpet cleaning business in rural Lawrence, made millions of dollars between 2005 and 2012 wholesaling marijuana with his alleged partners, Lawrence brothers Los Rovell and Roosevelt Dahda, both 31.
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One of Bauman's business partners, who was also indicted in the case, Carey Willming, of McLouth, pleaded guilty on Wednesday to money laundering charges. Willming had used bank accounts associated with the tanning salon she and Bauman owned, Ultimate Tan, 2449 Iowa, to hide drug proceeds, according to prosecutors.
Bauman's plea agreement with prosecutors was sealed by court order, but other defendants in the case have been subject to substantial property forfeitures.
Willming, who faces a maximum of 20 years in prison, will forfeit more than $45,000, as well as an engagement ring purchased for her by Bauman, according to court documents.
Willming is free on a $25,000 bond. A court order in February said she and Bauman could be married while he remains in federal custody in Leavenworth.
Bauman was the fifth Lawrence resident to plead guilty in a case that included 43 defendants, including residents of California and Douglas and Johnson counties. Of those, 24 have pleaded guilty and await sentencing.