An Ash Grove man was sentenced yesterday in Lawrence County Circuit Court to 14 years in prison on drug charges stemming from separate cases involving cocaine and methamphetamine distribution.
Coi E. Landers, 33, will spend 10 years in prison for distribution of cocaine, plus four additional years for failure to appear in court.
Landers will also serve 14 years concurrently, 10 years for manufacturing methamphetamine and four years for maintaining a public nuisance, possession of drug paraphernalia with the intent to manufacture methamphetamine and possession of ephedrine with the intent to manufacture methamphetamine.
Landers was sentenced following a plea agreement reached as his case was about to go to trial on June 2.
"Mr. Landers was set for jury trial on June 2, 3 and 4," said Robert E. George, Lawrence County prosecuting attorney. "However, agreements for disposition of his three cases were reached Tuesday afternoon."
The cocaine charge stemmed from an investigation conducted in 2001. Conservation Agent Don Ruzicka was investigating an illegally taken deer when he went to the Landers farm, located south of Highway 96, where Landers gave permission to look around the property. Ruzicka subsequently found an active methamphetamine lab on the property.
A search warrant, served by deputies with the Lawrence County Sheriff's Department, uncovered numerous pounds of marijuana, two meth labs, a safe containing cocaine and meth and a briefcase containing methamphetamine, cocaine and marijuana, all packaged to sell.
Initially, there was not enough information to charge Landers with the cocaine and meth found in the safe and briefcase, George said. In 2004, Landers appeared in court as a witness at a jury trial involving his mother. At that time, Landers testified that all the items in the briefcase and safe were his. Additional charges were then filed.
Landers was ordered to appear at a pretrial hearing on June 14, 2006, but he failed to appear and a warrant was issued for his arrest.
In 2007, drug officers with the Lawrence County Sheriff's Department received information regarding the manufacture of methamphetamine at a rural residence near Marionville. The confidential source indicated that Landers was cooking methamphetamine at the home. Having verified the outstanding arrest warrants, officers went to the home on Dec. 3, 2007.
Officers talked to Lander's wife at the scene and smelled a strong chemical smell consistent with the manufacture of methamphetamine. Officers were invited into the house, and Landers pushed the officers and bolted from the home. Officers apprehended Landers in a field near the home.
Landers' sentence was handed down by Stone County Associate Circuit Judge Alan Blankinship.
"Our office is pleased with the disposition of these cases," George said. "I hope Mr. Landers takes advantage of the programs the Department of Corrections offers regarding drug treatment."