Two Columbia men indicted for cocaine distribution ring

3 years 1 month 3 weeks ago Wednesday, July 29 2015 Jul 29, 2015 Wednesday, July 29, 2015 12:30:00 PM CDT July 29, 2015 in News
By: James Packard, KOMU 8 Digital Producer

JEFFERSON CITY - A U.S. Attorney said Wednesday two Columbia men, including the former owner of Midwest Audio Visions on Providence Rd., had been sentenced in federal court for their connection to a cocaine distribution operation.

36-year-old Levi McLean Franklin Coolley and 36-year-old Jonathan Richard Gray were sentenced Tuesday to 10 years in federal prison without parole. Judge Brian Wimes also ordered Coolley to forfeit $54,399 in drug trafficking profits to the government.

Tammy Dickinson, The U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, said the men were involved in a conspiracy to distribute the drug in Boone County and elsewhere.

Both men pleaded guilty to participating in the conspiracy to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine. Coolley also pleaded guilty to participating in a conspiracy to distribute less than 50 kilograms of marijuana and a conspiracy to commit money laundering through his Midwest Audio Visions business.

Don Ledford, public affairs officer for Dickinson's office, said Coolley supervised the distribution efforts of several people in Columbia. Ledford said Coolley also assisted in weighing and packaging cocaine and/or marijuana and collected money from sales, though he also had other people do those tasks for him.

Dickinson's office said Coolley arranged for the transportation of cocaine to Columbia from inside and outside the state. Authorities said at one point, Coolley arranged for cocaine to be delivered from Texas, but co-conspirators were stopped in Kansas with approximately four kilograms of cocaine. Coolley arranged for four more deliveries which were successful, according to Dickinson's office.

Coolley allegedly bought cocaine and marijuana from Samuel Johnson, of Kansas City, who pleaded guilty to his role in the conspiracy, and was sentenced in April to 15 years in federal prison. Authorities said Coolley purchased 40 kilograms of cocaine from Johnson, which he and others redistributed. On Nov. 8, 2011, police responded to an apparent break-in at Johnson's residence, where they found 72.42 grams of cocaine, 75.47 grams of crack cocaine and 18.66 kilograms of marijuana. Ledford said Coolley purchased cocaine from Johnson the day before.

Dickinson's office said Coolley attempted to conceal his drug-trafficking operation by establishing Midwest Audio Visions, which specialized in car stereos and window tinting. 

Dickinson's office said Gray ordered cocaine from larger distributors and redistributed it to others, weighed cocaine, packaged the drug, and collected money from sales. Ledford said Gray admitted to distributing more than five kilograms of cocaine.

Ledford said Coolley and Gray were among 18 defendants who have pleaded guilty in the case. Only one had yet to be sentenced Wednesday.

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