Lawrence man indicted on federal drug trafficking, firearm charges

Damon Griffin.

Federal prosecutors indicted a 37-year-old Lawrence man Thursday on drug trafficking and weapons charges after discovering a large amount of methamphetamine and numerous weapons during an investigation that culminated last month, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Charges against Damon Douglas Griffin include one count of distributing methamphetamine, one count of unlawful possession of a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking and one count of unlawful possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom’s office said.

Prosecutors allege that Griffin was distributing drugs in the Franklin and Anderson County areas last year. In the fall of 2013, the Kansas Bureau of Investigation joined the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office’s Drug Enforcement Unit in investigating Griffin’s activity.

The case broke open, prosecutors said, after Griffin was arrested on suspicion of criminal property damage and domestic battery in Lawrence on Jan. 7. After his arrest, the KBI issued search warrants for his West Lawrence home, his truck and a storage unit. A loaded shotgun, a pistol and a “possible explosive device with a green fuse” were found inside the truck, according to the indictment. Inside Griffin’s home, investigators found two more pistols and assorted rounds of ammunition as well as $10,700 in cash and seven bags containing a total of about 120 grams of methamphetamine.

The Lawrence/Douglas County Drug Enforcement Unit has estimated that the local street value of methamphetamine is $80 to $100 per gram, according to Sgt. Trent McKinley, a Lawrence Police Department spokesman. The price, McKinley said, varies depending on the purity of the meth or how pure it appears to the buyer.

That would make the meth seized from Griffin worth up to $12,000.

When investigators searched a storage unit they connected to Griffin, they found three more riffles, a “significant quantity of assorted ammunition” and scales. Later in January, according to the court documents, a Topeka man told a KBI investigator that he had distributed about two pounds of methamphetamine to Griffin during four transactions.

Griffin has a prior felony conviction for drug trafficking in Franklin County in 2006. He was released from Douglas County Jail on a $4,000 bond following his Jan. 7 arrest. He was later arrested on a federal warrant in Kansas City, Kan., on Jan. 23.

Griffin faces at least 10 years in federal prison and a $10 million fine if convicted of the methamphetamine charge, at least five years and a $250,000 fine if convicted of possessing a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking and a maximum of 10 years and a fine up to $250,000 if convicted of possessing a firearm as a convicted felon.