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Jury Convicts Ft. Wayne, Indiana Man of Attempted Multi-Kilogram Cocaine Possession in Kankakee

May 14, 2008

Urbana, Ill. – The U.S. Attorney for the Central District of Illinois, Rodger A. Heaton, announced that a jury deliberated for about 45 minutes today before returning a guilty verdict against a Ft. Wayne, Indiana man. The jury found Valerian N. Lewis, 38, guilty of attempting to possess cocaine with intent to distribute and made a special finding that Lewis intended to possess five kilograms or more of cocaine.

During the trial, which began Monday, May 12, the government presented evidence that Lewis attempted to purchase six kilograms of cocaine, at $18,000 per kilo, from a confidential informant in Kankakee, Illinois, in December 2007. Lewis was arrested on December 4, 2007, in Kankakee at a hotel parking lot where he had arranged to meet with the informant to purchase the drugs.

At the time of the offense, Lewis was on federal mandatory supervised release in the Northern District of Indiana after being convicted of a federal drug offense.

At sentencing, scheduled on August 21, 2008, Lewis faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 20 years to life in prison, ten years supervised release and fines of up to $8,000,000.

The case was investigated by the Kankakee Area Metropolitan Enforcement Group (KAMEG), the Drug Enforcement Administration and Illinois State Police. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Eugene L. Miller.

Lewis has remained in the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service since his arrest.

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