2 Lawrence men charged with distributing drugs that caused one death and injured others
photo by: Chris Conde/Journal-World
Updated at 5:50 p.m. Thursday
Two Lawrence men have been charged in Douglas County District Court with distributing a drug that caused a death by fentanyl overdose and that injured multiple other people.
Logan Hastie Morgan, 22, faces one felony count of distribution of a controlled substance causing death, two felony counts of distribution of a controlled substance causing great bodily harm and one felony count of possession of more than 10 doses of Oxycodone, according to charging documents.
Benjamin L. Mims, 35, of Lawrence, is charged with one felony count of distribution of a controlled substance causing death, three felony counts of distribution of a controlled substance causing great bodily harm and one felony count of possession of more than 100 doses of Oxycodone, according to charging documents.
The distribution causing death charge is a level-one felony and could result in a prison sentence ranging from 147 to 653 months, or about 12 to 54 years, depending on the defendant’s criminal history, according to Kansas sentencing guidelines.
The charges are in connection with multiple incidents in 2021.
The distribution causing death charge relates to an incident on Aug. 28, 2021, where emergency crews were called around 12:15 p.m. to the 3300 block of Westridge Court in Lawrence.
A Lawrence teen, Mohamadi “MJ” Tompson Issa Jr., 18, who lived in the area, died that day. His mother is listed as a witness in the charging documents filed against Morgan.
Issa was on the varsity football team for Lawrence High School his freshman and sophomore years and on the Free State High School varsity team his junior and senior years, according to his obituary.
Issa’s autopsy report from the Douglas County coroner’s office indicates that he died from an overdose of fentanyl.
The distribution causing great harm charges relate to incidents on May 31, 2021, and July 23, 2021. The charging documents were not clear as to who the alleged victims were in those instances. The possession of Oxycodone charge is listed as occurring between May 31, 2021, and Aug. 28, 2021.
The dates of the incidents Mims is charged with are the same as Morgan but include an additional distribution causing great bodily harm charge on Sept. 5, 2021.
Morgan was arrested Tuesday evening by Douglas County sheriff’s deputies, according to the jail booking log. Mims was booked around 2:15 p.m. Wednesday.
A Logan Morgan is named in a probable cause affidavit for Chloe Lyn Colby, 21, of Lawrence. Colby is charged with one count of distribution of a controlled substance causing death. The charge relates to an incident on April 17, 2021, when she is alleged to have provided counterfeit Oxycodone to her boyfriend, Kendall Royce Stiffler, 21, of Lawrence, who, after taking the drugs, died of fentanyl intoxication, as reported by the Journal-World.
Morgan is alleged to have asked Colby in a text message in August of 2021 if she had a way to still get “those bars,” to which Colby replied “nah, I don’t, I could possibly order more because I moved to another apartment but I’d have to get another laptop cops took mine,” and Morgan then invited her over to use his computer to order the pills, according to the affidavit. “Bars” refers to the street name for Xanax.
Colby is currently free on a $250,000 own-recognizance bond with GPS monitoring, and her next court date is Nov. 1, when her defense attorney, Angela Keck, will schedule a date for a jury trial. A trial was scheduled to occur on Oct. 31, but it was canceled; court records were not clear as to why.
During Morgan’s first appearance on Wednesday, Senior Assistant District Attorney David Greenwald requested that Morgan be given a $100,000 own-recognizance bond, which means Morgan wouldn’t have to put up any money to get out of jail, as long as he follows court orders. Morgan could also face a fine and additional charges if he fails to appear in court.
Greenwald said he requested the own-recognizance bond after having spoken with the Lawrence police detective who is working the case and having been told that Morgan had been “extremely cooperative” during the investigation. In addition, Greenwald said that Morgan had no previous criminal history and that he turned himself in when he learned police were looking for him.
Judge Blake Glover agreed to the own-recognizance bond and ordered Morgan to be on intensive monitoring with pretrial services, including house arrest and a GPS monitor. Glover allowed Morgan to go to work, per the request of the District Attorney’s Office.
Glover appointed attorney Adam Zentner to represent Morgan, whose next court appearance is set for Sept. 28. The Douglas County Sheriff’s Office declined to release Morgan’s booking photo.
Mims appeared in court on Thursday, and Greenwald requested a $300,000 cash or surety bond. Greenwald said that Mims has a significant criminal history, is currently on federal probation and represents a threat to the Lawrence community.
Mims disputed that characterization and said, “I haven’t threatened any community.” Mims added that he has five kids, is employed and hasn’t been in trouble recently.
Glover agreed to the $300,000 bond and ordered Mims not to have contact with the co-defendant.
Mims was convicted in 2019 in federal court of felony possession with the intent to distribute heroin. His conviction was a part of a Department of Justice “heroin trafficking case” in which Mims and five co-defendants were convicted of dealing heroin out of a house in Kansas City, Kansas.
Mims was sentenced in May of 2019 to 24 months in a federal prison and three years of post-release supervision, according to federal court records. He was in custody from the time of his arrest in April 2018 and was released from the Federal Bureau of Prisons in December 2019.
It isn’t clear in federal records why he was released. Records do indicate that he violated his federal supervision in July of 2021 after he left the state of Kansas without permission and failed a drug screen for marijuana.
Defense attorney Dakota Loomis was appointed to represent Mims, who is scheduled to appear in court on Sept. 28.