Monday, January 28, 2013

Former Sheriff Candidate Lance Laird - Jackson County

In 2012, Lance Laird ran for the position of Jackson County Sheriff. At the time, Laird was on probation for a domestic violence assault [August 28, 2010]. During the campaign, he was jailed for violating the terms of that probation. Laird lost the August 2012 primary for Jackson County Sheriff.

In January 2013, Laird was arrested for transporting $900,000 worth of  cocaine from Texas to Michigan.

"I find your client to be one of the most manipulative and controlling individuals that I have ever run across, according the report, according to the information, and according to the violation."
[Comment Jackson County Judge Mazur made to Lance Laird's attorney during Laird's hearing for the domestic violence charge and violation of bond].

Former Jackson County Sheriff Candidate Busted for Cocaine
By FOX 47 News
CREATED Jan. 30, 2013

One of the same people who ran for Jackson County Sheriff last year has been busted for cocaine.

Lance Laird lost the August primary while sitting in jail. He got out, and cops say he was driving one of three vehicles stopped last week in Calhoun County.

More than four kilos were found inside a spare tire. Cops say the cars were coming back from Texas. Eight others are facing charges for possession with intent to sell.

Lance Laird, former candidate for Jackson County sheriff, among those arrested after large cocaine bust
By Danielle Salisbury
The Jackson Patriot
January 28, 2013 at 6:36 PM
Updated January 30, 2013 at 6:43 PM

TEKONSHA, MI – A former candidate for Jackson County sheriff was among eight people arrested last week when police found 4.5 kilograms of cocaine in a GMC Yukon near Tekonsha.

Lance Laird, who lost in the August Democratic primary, was driving one of three vehicles stopped Wednesday on M-60 near 19 ½ Mile Road in Calhoun County, according to a criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court.

The vehicles had gone to Texas and were returning to Michigan. Laird, in a Pontiac Grand Prix, was accompanying the Yukon, where police said they found the cocaine inside a spare tire. The tire was attached beneath the SUV, according to the complaint, filed Friday in the Western District of Michigan in Grand Rapids.

Laird’s co-defendants are: Juan Guerrero Jr., Robert Paul Villarreal, Julio Cruz Pizano, Gonzalo Ramon Delarosa, Ryan Joshua Nice, Genoveva Pizano Villarreal and Abel Bernardo Villarreal.

Friday, the defendants appeared before a federal magistrate judge, and are in federal custody. A pretrial conference hearing is scheduled for Thursday.

They are charged with conspiring to possess cocaine with the intention of distributing it.

Driving the Yukon was Delarosa, 59, of Blackman Township, according to the complaint. Laird admitted to leaving Delarosa’s home on Rives Junction Road in the Grand Prix and heading to Texas.

Laird, 36, said he had made the same trip about two months ago, the complaint states.

A confidential informant led police to investigate the most recent trip.

The informant told a Lansing police officer that Guerrero, who lives in Lansing, has connections for illegal narcotics in Texas, according to the complaint.

The informant told the officer Guerrero would be planning a trek last week, and the informant gave a cell phone to Guerrero, which police then tracked.

Law enforcement personnel monitored the men's movements and state police first stopped the Grand Prix after it returned to Michigan. A white pickup, accompanying the Yukon and the Grand Prix, swerved at a trooper’s patrol vehicle as the trooper went after the Yukon.

The complaint alleges the pickup was a “bait vehicle,” used by drug traffickers to draw the attention of law enforcement away from the vehicle carrying the drugs, according to the complaint.

Police stopped the pickup and then pursued the Yukon, which had picked up its speed from about 35 mph to more than 60 mph in snowy, icy conditions in an apparent attempt to avoid a stop, the complaint states.

The three vehicles were traveling together, Pizano, 45, admitted to a deputy on the Jackson Narcotics Enforcement Team, according to the complaint.

The Jackson team is familiar with Pizano, Laird and Delarosa, said state police Detective Lt. Dave Cook, the team commander.

They are “known targets,” he said Monday.

During the primary in August, Laird was in jail for testing positive for cocaine while on probation for a domestic violence charge. He denied using the drug.

The jail stay was his 14th in Jackson County since 2006, jail records showed.

Lance lost the primary to Jackson reserve officer Kenneth Carpenter, but still earned more than 1,400 votes.

Sheriff Steve Rand, a Republican, beat Carpenter handily in the November general election.

The cocaine found last week has a value of about $900,000, state police reported.

"It's probably the biggest (bust) we have been involved in in a long time," Cook said of the Jackson team.

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