BERLIN — A Berlin man faces as many as 40 years in prison after pleading guilty last week in federal court to possession with intent to distribute 500 grams or more of cocaine following one of the most significant drug busts in recent Worcester County history.
Tyrone Darnell Lawson, 38, of Berlin, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court on July 14 to one count of possession with intent to distribute over 500 grams of cocaine, a charge which carries a maximum of 40 years in prison with a mandatory minimum of five years. Lawson was arrested on May 20, 2010 after the Worcester County Sheriff’s Office Criminal Enforcement Team executed a search and seizure warrant on his West Street residence in Berlin and recovered 1.7 kilograms of cocaine.
During the summer of 2009, the Sheriff’s Office’s criminal enforcement team initiated an investigation related to the distribution of controlled dangerous substances in and around Worcester County, particularly the Berlin area. The investigation revealed Lawson was a major supplier of cocaine in the county and that he was distributing cocaine from his residence on West Street in Berlin.
On May 20, 2010, the criminal enforcement team, assisted by allied law enforcement agencies, executed a search and seizure warrant on three separate locations in Berlin from which Lawson was suspected of operating his drug distribution activities. At one location, police found a locked shed on the premises of Lawson’s West Street residence.
After Lawson’s brother provided detectives with a key to the shed, the officers discovered a large speaker box inside. When the officers removed the speakers from the box, they found a large amount of cocaine totaling 1.7 kilograms. Also recovered during the search was 59 grams of marijuana, along with a scale and packaging materials consistent with dealing.
Lawson was arrested and later indicted by a Worcester County grand jury on 12 counts related to the seizure ranging from simple possession to possession with intent to distribute and from distribution in a school zone to conspiracy to distribute-large amount.
Last August, the charges against Lawson in Worcester County Circuit Court were dropped after he was indicted in U.S. District Court on federal drug distribution charges. Last week, Lawson entered a plea agreement in federal court admitting to possession with intent to distribute 500 grams or more of cocaine. He faces 40 years in prison, although the U.S. Attorney’s Office will recommend the five-year minimum mandatory sentence. Sentencing is set for October.