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Kansas twins found guilty of conspiracy in marijuana ring

Two Kansas men have been convicted in connection with a drug conspiracy that reportedly brought about $17 million worth of illegal substances to Kansas. The two 32-year-old twins were convicted along with at California man on July 23, according to official reports. The trio was found guilty of conspiracy and other drug trafficking allegations. The two men were accused of using their Lawrence business, a barbeque restaurant, to house and distribute marijuana in the area.

Investigators say that the two Kansas men were among nearly four dozen people who were arrested in California and Kansas in connection with an operation that brought more than four tons of marijuana into Lawrence and Kansas City. Those defendants were all charged in 2012 after an alleged seven-year conspiracy. Other drugs, including methamphetamine and cocaine, also reportedly made their way into the area through these trafficking channels.

The California man is accused of growing marijuana at his West Coast home, transporting the drug to Kansas as a part of the drug trafficking operation. Authorities said they found 38 pounds of the drug in a false vehicle compartment when he was pulled over in 2012 in Nebraska.

The trio in this case could face a mandatory minimum of a decade in prison on the federal conspiracy charge alone. Prosecutors have said that a life prison term is possible for these individuals. One of the twins is facing a 20-year minimum sentence because of his previous conviction history. A sentencing hearing has not yet been set in the case.

It appears that these men chose to pursue a trial in connection with their federal drug charges. Other defendants in the case chose to plead guilty, and some even testified against their co-defendants as part of their plea agreements. Although a guilty plea is useful for some criminal cases, it is not an appropriate choice for all defendants, especially in federal cases with high-stakes penalties.

Source: The Kansas City Star, "Lawrence twins convicted in $17 million drug conspiracy that ran through barbecue joint" Jul. 24, 2014

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