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NEWS RELEASE

OFFICE OF THE UNITED STATES ATTORNEY

WESTERN DISTRICT OF MISSOURI


JOHN F. WOOD


Contact Don Ledford, Public Affairs ● (816) 426-4220 ● 400 East Ninth Street, Room 5510 ● Kansas City, MO 64106

www.usdoj.gov/usao/mow/index.html


AUGUST 27, 2008

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


JURY CONVICTS BELTON MAN FOR

CRACK COCAINE CONSPIRACY


FACES LIFE IN FEDERAL PRISON


            KANSAS CITY, Mo. – John F. Wood, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced today that a federal jury convicted a Belton, Mo., man for his role in a conspiracy to distribute crack cocaine.


            Chris Coleman, 34, of Belton, was found guilty of conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute 50 grams or more of crack cocaine as well as aiding and abetting others to distribute five grams or more of crack cocaine.


            Evidence presented during the trial indicated that Coleman was the supplier for several co-defendants, who distributed crack cocaine to two undercover law enforcement officers. Courtney D. Baker, 23, of Grandview, Mo., pleaded guilty to his role in the conspiracy and was sentenced to 10 years in federal prison without parole. Donald R. Hathaway, 53, of Kansas City, Mo., and Cornelius Robinson, 47, of Grandview, also pleaded guilty to their roles in the crack cocaine conspiracy and await sentencing. Gwendolyn M. Bates, 47, of Grandview, pleaded guilty to distributing crack cocaine and awaits sentencing.


            Following the presentation of evidence, the jury in the U.S. District Court in Kansas City deliberated about three hours before returning the guilty verdict to U.S. Chief District Judge Fernando J. Gaitan on Tuesday, Aug. 26, 2008, ending a trial that began Monday, Aug. 25, 2008.


            Under federal statutes, Coleman is subject to a mandatory sentence of life in federal prison without parole, plus a fine up to $6 million. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the completion of a presentence investigation by the United States Probation Office.


            This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Amy Marcus and Cindi Woolery. It was investigated by the Jackson County Drug Task Force.



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This news release, as well as additional information about the office of the United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, is available on-line at

www.usdoj.gov/usao/mow/index.html