Five People Charged with Making Drug Deals near Topeka High

Five people are charged with making drug deals near Topeka High School.

A federal indictment says Cecil Brooks, Lemark Robertson, Ronda Barnett, Gaylon Steele and Luis Rivera-Cotto trafficked in crack cocaine from an apartment complex at 800 SW Polk.

In one instance last November, the indictment says they hit a man in the head with a bottle then burned his back with a hot iron.

Release from the U.S. Attorney's Office:
KANSAS CITY, KAN. – A Kansas man was assaulted with a hot iron over a drug deal, according to a federal indictment filed Thursday charging five individuals with trafficking in crack cocaine.

Cecil A. Brooks, 45; Lemark D. Robertson, 46; Ronda R. Barnett, 40; Gaylon W. Steele, 50; and Luis M. Rivera-Cotto are charged in a 12-count superseding indictment. The crimes are alleged to have occurred from April 3 to July 14, 2006, in Topeka, Kan., and Kansas City, Kan.

The indictment charges that the defendants conspired to distribute, and to possess with intent to distribute, crack cocaine within 1,000 feet of Topeka High School, 800 W. 10th Street in Topeka, Kan.

According to the indictment, on Nov. 23, 2007, in furtherance of the conspiracy, Brooks attacked and injured another man, Adam G. Newton, during an encounter in the Winstone Apartment Complex, 800 SW Polk in Topeka. Brooks accused Newton of being responsible for stealing or losing $1,000 work of crack cocaine that belonged to Brooks. Brooks struck Newton on the side of the head with a bottle, knocking Newton to the ground. Then Brooks picked up a hot iron and burned Newton on the back with the iron several times. The attack was for the purpose of sending a message to Newton and other people that Brooks and his co-conspirators would not tolerate anyone stealing crack cocaine from them.

The defendants face the following charges:

Cecil A. Brooks: One count of conspiracy, and one count of maintaining a residence (1942 N. 24th, Kansas City, Kan.) in furtherance of drug trafficking.

Lemark D. Roberson: One count of conspiracy, one count of maintaining a residence (800 SW Polk, Apt. 38) in furtherance of drug trafficking; one count of maintaining a residence (800 SW Polk, Apt. 35) in furtherance of drug trafficking; and one count of possession with intent to distribute crack cocaine.

Ronda R. Barnett: One count of conspiracy, and one count of distributing crack cocaine within 1,000 feet of Topeka High School.

Gaylon W. Steele: One count of conspiracy and three counts of distributing crack cocaine within 1,000 feet of Topeka High School.

Luis M. Rivera-Cotto: One count of conspiracy, two counts of distributing crack cocaine within 1,000 feet of Topeka High School, one count of maintaining a residence (800 SW Polk, Apt. 16) in furtherance of drug trafficking, and one count of possession with intent to distribute crack cocaine.

Upon conviction, the crimes carry the following penalties:
– Conspiracy: Not less than 10 years and not more than life in federal prison and a fine up to $8 million.
– Maintaining a residence in furtherance of drug trafficking: Not less than one year and not more than 40 years and a fine up to $2 million.
– Distribution of crack cocaine within 1,000 feet of a school: Not less than 1 year and not more than 40 years and a fine up to $2 million.
– Possession with intent to distribute more than 5 grams of crack cocaine within 1,000 feet of a school: Not less than 5 years and not more than 80 years and a fine up to $4 million.
– Possession with intent to distribute 5 grams or less of crack cocaine within 1,000 feet of a school. Not less than 1 year and not more than 40 years and a fine up to $2 million.

The Topeka Police Department, the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Federal Bureau of Investigation worked on the case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Tris Hunt is prosecuting.


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