News Release
November 30, 2007

Cheboygan Crack Dealer Pleads Guilty

NOV 30 -- A Cheboygan County resident pleaded guilty on November 28, 2007, to charges stemming from his role in a scheme to transport crack cocaine from the Detroit, Michigan area to Cheboygan County for the purpose of distributing the crack cocaine to residents of Cheboygan County, United States Attorney Stephen J. Murphy announced today.

Murphy was joined in the announcement by Robert L. Corso, DEA Special Agent in Charge.

William Neal Laur, 58, of Cheboygan, Michigan, entered a guilty plea to a charge of conspiracy to distribute 50 grams or more of cocaine base, also known as crack cocaine, in United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, in Bay City, before Judge Thomas Ludington.

United States Attorney Stephen J. Murphy said, “The trafficking of crack cocaine presents serious dangers to communities throughout Michigan, not just the major urban centers, and my office will vigorously prosecute such activity wherever it is found. Today’s conviction, along with the other successful results in this case, marks the demise of significant drug ring in the Cheboygan area.”

SAC Robert L. Corso said: “This investigation illustrates that crack cocaine is not just a big city problem. Crack cocaine destroys lives and can wreak havoc on a community. The dismantling of this crack cocaine distribution organization, makes Cheboygan a safer community for everyone today.”

Three other individuals, James Douglas Allen, 28, of Detroit, Michigan, Colleen Esther Mallette, 49, of Cheboygan, Michigan and Jeffrey Fish, 50, of Cheboygan , Michigan had previously entered guilty pleas to the same conspiracy charge. Allen was sentenced on November 28, 2007 to a 110 month term of imprisonment and Fish was sentenced on November 29, 2007, to a 28 month term of imprisonment. Laur, who is scheduled to be sentenced on March 19, 2008, is facing a minimum sentence of 10 years imprisonment and up to life imprisonment. Mallette, who is scheduled to be sentenced on December 14, 2007, is also facing a 10 year minimum sentence and up to a life imprisonment.

The information presented to the court during court proceedings related to these individuals showed that at various times between 2004 and 2006, Allen, who resided in Detroit, was supplying quantities of crack cocaine to Laur, Mallette and Fish who were then distributing the crack cocaine to numerous individuals who resided in or near Cheboygan County and other communities in the northern part of the Lower Peninsula of Michigan.

United States Attorney Murphy commended the excellent investigative work by the DEA and in particular the efforts of the Straits Area Narcotics Enforcement Team (SANE), the Michigan State Police, Cheboygan Post, the Cheboygan County Sheriff’s Department, the Cheboygan Police Department and the Cheboygan County Prosecutor’s Office which led to the successful investigation and prosecution of these individuals.