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A federal jury in Kansas City, Kan., today convicted three men for their roles in a drug trafficking conspiracy that distributed millions of dollars’ worth of marijuana in the Lawrence area, the U.S. Attorney’s office said.

The government is seeking a money judgment of more than $16.9 million against the traffickers.

The men were found guilty on charges of conspiracy to distribute marijuana and other drug trafficking counts. The defendants are Los Rovell Dahda, 32, Lawrence, Kan.; Roosevelt Rico Dahda, 32, Lawrence, Kan.; and Justin Cherif Pickel, 34, San Lorenzo, Calif.

During trial, prosecutors presented evidence that starting in 2008 law enforcement agencies began receiving information that Los Dahda was distributing marijuana in the Lawrence area. When Roosevelt Dahda was released from prison in November 2010, he joined his brother Los in the trafficking organization, according to the U.S. attorney’s office.

Prosecutors presented evidence that during the early days of the conspiracy the Dahdas bought marijuana from Mexico to sell in Lawrence. Over time, they turned to California for their supply. They purchased marijuana in California for $1,800 to $2,800 a pound and they sold it in the Lawrence area for $3,500 to $4,800 a pound, according to prosecutors. It is estimated that the traffickers distributed more than 8,000 pounds of marijuana from 2005 to 2012.

The Dahdas used a business they owned in Lawrence, Gran-Daddy’s BBQ at 1447 W. 23rd St., as well as other properties to receive, store and process marijuana for distribution.

Pickel worked for the Dahdas transporting marijuana from California to Lawrence, prosecutors said. On April 25, 2012, he was stopped on Interstate I-80 in Nebraska. Investigators found 38 pounds of marijuana concealed in a false compartment in a toolbox-fuel tank.

Pickel also set up an indoor marijuana grow operation in California that he maintained for the Dahdas. On June 13, 2012, investigators executed a search warrant at Pickel’s residence in California and seized more than 100 marijuana plants.

The defendants were convicted on the following counts:

Los Rovell Dahda: Conspiracy (count 1), maintaining Daddy’s BBQ at 1147 W. 23rd in Lawrence in furtherance of drug trafficking, distributing marijuana, using a telephone in furtherance of drug trafficking, andpossession with intent to distribute marijuana.

Roosevelt Rico Dahda: Conspiracy, using a telephone in furtherance of drug trafficking, possession with intent to distribute marijuana, possession with intent to distribute within 1,000 feet of Holcomb Sports Complex in Lawrence.

Justin Cherif Pickel: Conspiracy, using a telephone in furtherance of drug trafficking.

Sentencing will be set for a later date. The crimes carry the following penalties:

Conspiracy: Not less than 10 years and a fine up to $10 million. On this count, Roosevelt is facing a minimum of 20 years because of his prior convictions.
Maintaining a house or building in furtherance of drug trafficking: A maximum penalty of 20 years and a fine up to $250,000.
Distributing marijuana within 1,000 feet of a school or playground: A maximum penalty of 10 years and a fine up to $500,000.
Distributing marijuana; possession with intent to distribute marijuana: A maximum penalty of five years and a fine up to $250,000.
Using a telephone in furtherance of drug trafficking: A maximum penalty of four years and a fine up to $250,000.
Taking part in an ongoing criminal enterprise: Not less than 20 years and a fine up to $2 million.

Agencies involved in the investigation and the arrest of defendants include the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office, the Johnson County Sheriff‘s Office, the Lawrence Police Department, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and the Internal Revenue Service, the U.S. Postal Service, the Alameda County, Calif., Sheriff’s Drug Task Force, the Kansas Bureau of Investigation, the Lenexa Police Department, the Overland Park Police Department, the Kansas City, Mo., Police Department, the Kansas City, Kan., Police Department and the Hayward, Calif., Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney Terra Morehead is prosecuting.

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A couple in south central Kansas was indicted Wednesday on federal charges of stealing more than $1.5 million from Presbyterian Manors of Mid-America, a Wichita-based company, according to U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom.

In Kansas, the company has facilities in Wichita, Topeka, Kansas City, Kan., Olathe, Lawrence, Emporia, Salina, Dodge City, Fort Scott, Parsons, Arkansas City, Newton, Sterling and Clay Center.

Brent A. Shryock, 43, Augusta, Kan., and his wife, Lori A. Shryock, 50, Augusta, Kan., are charged with four counts of mail fraud. The indictment alleges the crimes occurred while Brent Shryock was employed as information systems director for the company. He was in charge of all computers, telephones, video information and electronic equipment, including the purchase of new or replacement equipment for PMMA, Presbyterian Manor, Aberdeen and Ashfield facilities.

The defendants are alleged to have created four fictitious companies: LGR Technology, Innovative Software Solutions, DT Solutions and Microtech Solutions. The indictment alleges the initials in LGR Technology stood for “Let’s Get Rich.” The defendants used the fictitious companies to submit fraudulent invoices to PMMA, Presbyterian Manor, Aberdeen and Ashfield, the indictment alleges.

If convicted, the defendants face a maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison and a fine up to $250,000 on each count. The FBI investigated. Assistant U.S. Attorney Alan Metzger is prosecuting.

(Illustration from KDOT)


On Monday, Aug. 4, an expansion joint replacement project will begin on the westbound I-670 over 7th Street bridge in Kansas City, Kan.

Project work includes the replacement of the bridge expansion joints, according to the Kansas Department of Transportation. Work will take place during daylight hours, Monday through Friday, with some occasional Saturday work.

Beginning at 9 a.m. on Monday, Aug. 4, westbound I-670 over the 7th Street bridge from the Kansas-Missouri state line west to just past the west end of the bridge will be reduced to one open lane while crews set traffic control for the project work zone.

Then sometime later that same day, westbound I-670 over the 7th Street bridge from the Kansas-Missouri state line west to just past the west end of the bridge will be reduced to two open lanes, 24/7 round the clock, throughout the project duration.

Traffic will be detoured through the project work zone via concrete barrier, signage and cones. The traffic control for this project will be directly adjacent to a Missouri Department of Transportation bridge repair project that has one lane of westbound I-670 over Genessee-Wyoming-Liberty-Beardsley roads closed in the West Bottoms area. KDOT and MoDOT plan to coordinate traffic control on both projects to minimize the overall traffic effect for the traveling public.

Advance message boards will alert traffic to the westbound I-670 lane closure. There will be an 11-foot lane width restriction through the project work zone throughout the duration of the project. Drivers should expect delays during peak commute times and may wish to use alternate routes if possible, a KDOT spokesman said.

Updated daily traffic information for this project and the entire Kansas City Metro Area can be viewed online: www.ksdot.org/kcmetro/laneclose.asp.

The Kansas Department of Transportation urges all motorists to be alert, obey the warning signs, and slow down when approaching and driving through the project work zone.

PCI, St. Michael, Minn., is the primary contractor on this bridge joint repair project with a total contract cost of $750,000. The scheduled completion date for the overall project is mid-October 2014, weather permitting.

This project is funded by T-WORKS, the transportation program passed by the Kansas Legislature in May 2010. More about this and other T-WORKS projects is at: http://kdotapp.ksdot.org/TWorks/.

by Lou Braswell

Christmas in July, on Saturday, sounds like fun and the Leavenworth Road Association will have a booth there, promoting our organization, selling our shirts and promoting and selling tickets to our fundraising dinner-dance.

The event is from 4 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. Saturday, July 26, at Wyandotte County Lake Park, Beach Shelter.

There are 32 pontoon boats signed up for a parade to start at 8 p.m. A food booth also will be available. The event has several sponsors, including the Unified Government, the Kansas City, Kan., Public Libraries and the Piper Optimist Club. For more information, call 913-573-8327.

We need volunteers; let me know if you want to help.

An update on Leavenworth Road Association’s summer youth program:

We were able to place every applicant, and the reports from the mentors are overwhelming. The youth are magnificent.

The program will come to an end July 30.

Lou Braswell is the executive director of the Leavenworth Road Association.

The Kansas City, Kan., Board of Public Utilities Ethics Commission will meet at 4 p.m. Tuesday, July 29, in Conference Room B, West Wyandotte Public Library, 1737 N. 82nd St., Kansas City, Kan.

The purpose of the Ethics Commission is to ensure proper implementation of BPU’s code of ethics and to review and report on all violations of the ethics policy, a spokesman said.

The BPU Ethics Commission Hotline is 913-271-6337. The email is bpuethics@gmail.com.

A spokesman for the Kansas City T-Bones said terms have been reached with the team’s 2013 Player of the Year, infielder Matt Padgett.

Padgett, 36, has spent the 2014 season with Acereros de Monclova of the Mexican League, where he batted .294 in 85 games with 95 hits, including 22 doubles and 10 home runs, and 60 RBIs. He was selected earlier this season for the league’s all-star game.

Padgett, who was the American Association-PointStreak Hitter of the Month in July 2013 while with the T-Bones, was one of the top hitters in the league last season before being traded to New Jersey of the Can-Am League in August. He had a .337 batting average with 19 home runs, 33 doubles, 66 RBIs and a .650 slugging percentage in 82 games for Kansas City. The T-Bones reacquired Padgett’s rights in September.

“We’re excited to welcome Padgett back,” said T-Bones vice president and general manager Chris Browne. “He’s a veteran hitter that will be an asset on the field and in the clubhouse, plus he’s a fan favorite.”

The 2014 season is Padgett’s 17th professional season. Padgett, 6-foot-2 and 215 pounds from Lexington, S.C., is a career .274 hitter with 417 doubles, 199 home runs and 1,026 RBIs in 1,806 games.

Padgett is expected to be in uniform for the T-Bones on Friday night when the team starts a three-game series at Lincoln.

To meet league roster requirements with the signing of Padgett and to strengthen their bullpen, the T-Bones have traded infielder-outfielder David Espinosa to Wichita in exchange for pitcher Patrick Mincey. According to American Association rules, each team is allowed a maximum of five veteran players. Both Padgett and Espinosa are veterans.

Mincey, a 6-foot-3 and 190-pound right hander, is 2-3 with a 3.55 ERA in 26 games this season with the Wingnuts. Although he hasn’t been used as the closer in Wichita, Mincey had 24 saves in 2013 for Grand Prairie, and 41 overall in two-plus professional seasons.

“You hate to lose a player like Espy,” Browne said. “He’s been a class act on and off the field this summer. We wish him the best. But it’s simply a numbers game with the roster, and in this case, it’s kind of a two-for-one deal. We add a veteran bat with some pop in Padgett and we bolster our bullpen with Mincey.”

Mincey is expected to be in uniform for Kansas City tonight as the T-Bones conclude the series against Grand Prairie at CommunityAmerica Ballpark in Kansas City, Kan.

- Story from T-Bones