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Lawrence man admits role as crack-cocaine courier
A Lawrence man has pleaded guilty to working as a courier in a local crack-cocaine dealing ring.James William Beltch, 37, pleaded guilty Monday to one count of possession with intent to distribute crack cocaine, U.S. Atty. Eric Melgren's office announced today. Beltch admitted taking part in a drug trafficking conspiracy in Lawrence from March 2004 through April 2006. He named co-defendants Don Marcus Gibler, Aharlock Fixico, Branden Scott Walker, Carl Ray Roubison, Ryan Ezell Fowler, Lonnie Ray Teichmann, John Burke Holt, and Ryan Lavelle Green as others involved in the conspiracy.According to Melgren's office, Beltch admitted the following:¢ Gibler, Fixico and Walker obtained ounces of cocaine or cocaine base, which they distributed themselves or via others including Roubison, Fowler, Teichmann, Green and Beltch.¢ Roubison, Teichmann and Holt allowed Gibler, Fixico and Walker to use their residences to manufacture and distribute crack.¢Teichmann, Holt and Beltch allowed their residences to be used for drug trafficking or made deliveries of crack cocaine in return for personal use quantities of crack cocaine.In one instance, according to Melgren's office, Beltch was driving a vehicle that was stopped June 19, 2005, for a traffic violation, and Gibler was a passenger in the car. During a search, an officer found a cigarette pack with a plastic bag containing crack. Beltch told officers that Gibler had given him the cigarette pack containing crack and that he was to hold it for Gibler while they made deliveries. Belch also admitted taking Gibler to Kansas City on a number of occasions to obtain cocaine and crack.Belch is scheduled for sentencing Nov. 20. He faces at least 10 years up to life in prison, as well as a fine up to $4 million.The case was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration and the joint city-county Drug Enforcement Unit.