116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - Two Cedar Rapids brothers who distributed ice methamphetamine, sometimes hidden in stuffed animals, were convicted by jury Wednesday following a three day trial in federal court.
Martin Lawrence, 52 and Troy Lawrence, 54, were convicted of conspiracy to distribute ice methamphetamine, distribution of ice methamphetamine, possession with intent to distribute ice methamphetamine, and witness tampering. The jury deliberated about three hours.
The trial evidence showed Martin Lawrence headed a drug trafficking organization responsible for distributing pounds of ice methamphetamine, a highly pure, crystalized form of methamphetamine, in Eastern Iowa.
Troy Lawrence assisted him by distributing ice meth in the Cedar Rapids area, according to testimony.
Investigators learned of the drug ring after Martin Lawrence's step-son brought an orange stuffed monkey containing meth to his elementary school for 'Dr. Seuss Week.” The stuffed monkey's leg broke open during the day and a plastic bag with ice meth fell out. Later during a search of Martin Lawrence's home, authorities found numerous stuffed animals similar to the orange monkey and another stuffed animal containing ice meth was found in the backseat of Troy Lawrence's car.
The child's mother told investigators they purchased the stuffed animals at a truck stop while traveling to Omaha, where Martin obtained ice meth and brought it back to the Cedar Rapids area, where a network of individuals distributed it.
After the brothers were arrested on federal charges, they told witnesses in the case to avoid contact with law enforcement in an attempt to prevent them from testifying at trial.
Both brothers face 10 years to life in prison, over $10 million in fines and at least five years of supervised release following any prison time. Sentencing isn't set at this time.