Lawrence Colton guilty in vast Duluth-area drug conspiracy

Heroin is among the drugs Colton conspired to distribute.
Heroin is among the drugs Colton conspired to distribute.
Photo: Wikipedia.

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A vast, 26-person drug case in Duluth effectively ended yesterday with the federal conviction of Lawrence Lalonde Colton.

The investigation began in 2010, when law enforcement in Minnesota and Wisconsin noticed an increase of a powerful prescription opiate called Opana on the streets. The drug trafficking led investigators to the Twin Ports area of Duluth, where Colton and 25 others conspired to distribute heroin and several types of prescription drugs.

Colton, a 43-year-old from Detroit, was found guilty on four charges: conspiring to distribute oxycodone, oxymorphone, hydromorphone, and heroin, and three counts of distributing or aiding and abetting distribution of oxymorphone, the drug found in Opana.

Each charge comes with a max sentence of 30 years in a federal prison without parole, meaning Colton is unlikely to breathe free air ever again.

Of the other 25 involved in the drug ring, 24 pleaded guilty to a single count of conspiracy, and one to possession with intent to distribute.

"This case will rid us of some long-time habitual offenders as well as help address the growing prescription drug and heroin problem facing our region," said Duluth Police Chief Gordon Ramsay in a statement.

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