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Authorities bust a large multi-state drug ring

A major drug investigation in Johnson and Douglas counties has led to the arrest of about 25 people who were involved in a trafficking ring. The group faces drug charges in connection with nearly a ton of high-grade marijuana that was distributed between April 2008 and June 2012, according to official reports. Federal agents were in the area to make the arrests earlier this month, said area police officers.

The pot had been slated for distribution throughout the region. Many of the suspects were from Lawrence, Kansas, which is a university town. That area would ostensibly be a booming market for area drug peddlers because of its young, party-heavy atmosphere.

The investigation was facilitated by local officers who had been deputized into the Drug Enforcement Agency, according to official sources. Court-approved wireless phone taps were used to capture information about the drug trade. The marijuana was allegedly shipped in large crates from a cell phone store in California to a large warehouse in Kansas City, Kansas.

District attorneys in the area said that arrests were still continuing through the evening of June 13. The crime ring was made up of a number of people, and tracking them all down took some time.

Those charged in connection with the incidents face 10 years to life in prison. They may also receive fines of up to $10 million if convicted. The group so far faces charges of conspiracy to distribute the drugs, though other charges may be added later.

The drug ring was split fairly evenly between Kansas residents and California residents, according to media reports related to the case. Many of the suspects hail from Lawrence, with some from Olathe, Overland Park, Lenexa and Kansas City. The defendants range in age from 25 to 50 years old, according to the arrest logs.

It is unclear whether any of the suspects are being held on bond, and no preliminary hearing information is available at this time.

Convictions for drug related offenses can often include severe penalties such as jail time, fines and even prison sentences. All of these punishments can lead to life altering consequences. Drug crimes can impact maintaining a professional license, driver's license and even sustaining a household income. The age range for the suspects in this drug raid is quite varied. Each defendant's case will need to be carefully evaluated independently so that the best possible outcome for the individual is pursued.

Source: The Kansas City Star, "Drug bust in Johnson and Douglas counties involves more than a ton of pot," Matt Campbell, June 14, 2012

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