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Forum Communications, Published August 17 2012

Last defendant in drug ring case found guilty

MINNEAPOLIS – A jury has found the last defendant in a large drug ring in Minnesota and Wisconsin guilty.

The federal jury in Minneapolis late Wednesday found Lawrence Lalonde Colton, 43, of Detroit, guilty of conspiring to distribute controlled substances, including oxycodone, oxymorphone, hydromorphone and heroin in Duluth and in Superior, Wis. Colton also was convicted on three separate counts of distributing or aiding and abetting the distribution of oxymorphone.

Colton faces a potential maximum penalty of 30 years in federal prison for each count of the conviction. The federal criminal justice system does not have parole.

Colton and 25 co-conspirators were indicted on Sept. 21, 2011. Seventeen of the co-defendants have already been sentenced for their roles in the drug trafficking operation, while eight have pleaded guilty and are waiting for sentencing.

As part of the investigation, authorities executed search warrants on Sept. 27, 2011, at 11 properties throughout Minnesota and Wisconsin. In those searches, they seized large amounts of narcotics as well as firearms, ammunition, and approximately $30,000 in cash.