Last 2 of 23 defendants convicted for prison drug trafficking ring in Oklahoma, Kansas – WIBW

WICHITA, Kan. (WIBW) – The last two of 23 defendants has been convicted for their role in a prison drug trafficking ring that involved the Oklahoma State Penitentiary, Wichita, Kan., residents and a man who had already been sentenced to 90 years in prison for the killing of a guard.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Kansas says a federal grand jury convicted two Wichita men, Kevin Lewis, 58, and Travis Vontress, 45, on charges stemming from an inmate-run drug trafficking ring from a prison cell in the Oklahoma State Penitentiary.
Following the presentation of court documents and evidence at trial, the Office said a jury found the pair guilty of conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine, conspiracy to distribute heroin, conspiracy to distribute cocaine powder, maintaining drug-involved premises, and unlawful use of a telephone in furtherance of drug trafficking.
The Office said a jury also convicted Lewis of conspiracy to distribute cocaine while Vontress was found guilty of possession with intent to distribute powder cocaine and possession of a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking as well.
Both men are scheduled for a sentencing hearing on June 22.
According to the office, 21 defendants pled guilty to charges related to the case. They include:
Court records indicate Knighten served as the brains of the operation while in prison, used cell phones to direct co-conspirators in Wichita to distribute methamphetamine, heroin, cocaine and other illicit drugs. Knighten is serving a 90-year sentence for killing a prison guard in 1993.
“This sophisticated criminal organization went to great lengths to conceal their illegal activities from law enforcement such as using code words for various narcotics and street names instead of actual names,” said U.S. Attorney for the District of Kansas Duston Slinkard. “These court convictions show that as criminals work to evade the law, there are prosecutors and law enforcement agencies working just as hard to bring them to justice.”
According to the Office, other entities that helped the investigation of the case include the FBI, Wichita Police Department, Drug Enforcement Administration, Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office, Barton Co. Sheriff’s Office, U.S. Postal Service, Sedgwick Co. Regional Forensic Science Center, Homeland Security Investigations, U.S. Marshall Service, Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, and the Nebraska State Patrol.
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