Ad-Express and Daily Iowegian, Centerville, IA

Local News

October 31, 2011

Meth ring near Central busted up

CENTERVILLE — The methamphetamine raid, arrest, prosecution, guilty pleas and sentencing for two of the three defendants living at 411 E. Prairie St. in Centerville apparently involves several other individuals living in the area.

Dorothy Izetta Cole and Thomas Elden Cole Jr., of 411 E. Prairie St., both recently entered voluntary guilty pleas to a lesser meth-related charge and were sentenced to prison, suspended to probation. The residence at 411 E. Prairie St. is located within 1,000 feet of Central Elementary.

The third defendant living at 411 E. Prairie St. arrested and prosecuted but yet to be sentenced is Cody Wayne Cole, 21. He entered a guilty plea Oct. 11 to a lesser meth-related charge and is scheduled to be sentenced for his involvement in the meth manufacturing scheme on Dec. 27, 2011.

Appanoose County Attorney Richard F. Scott alleges Murphy Don Ballanger, Kasara Leann Higbee and Randy Wayne Cole were also involved with Cody Wayne Cole in the scheme to manufacturing meth at 411 E. Prairie St. Scott had charged those four defendants with conspiracy to manufacture more than five grams of meth, a class B felony.

On Oct. 5 Scott filed an application to consolidate the four defendant's trials to be held on Oct. 18 and the court approved the request.

Scott's application for consolidation of trials states: "That the facts and circumstances giving rise to the charge filed against Defendants Ballanger, Higbee and Randy Cole are the same, if not wholly similar, to the facts and circumstances giving rise to the charge brought against Defendant Cody Cole. It is further alleged that Defendants Ballanger, Higbee, Randy Cole and Cody Cole are all co-conspirators in the same conspiracy."

Based on court records, Cody Wayne Cole is the link joining Ballanger, Higbee, Randy Wayne Cole, Dorothy Izetta Cole and Thomas Elden Cole Jr. in the same scheme to manufacture meth at 411 E. Prairie St.

Higbee, 22, of Centerville, on Oct. 18 entered a voluntary guilty plea to a lesser meth-related charge — possession of a precursor, pseudoephrine, a class D felony — and is scheduled to be sentenced on Dec. 6.

Ballanger, 21, of Moulton, on Oct. 11 entered a voluntary guilty plea to a lesser meth-related charge — possession of a precursor, pseudoephrine, a class D felony — and is scheduled to be sentenced Feb. 10, 2012.

Randy Wayne Cole, 53, of Centerville, resisted the trial consolidation and the court granted that request on Oct. 11. His next court date is a pretrial conference Dec. 20.

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The Iowegian wants readers to think about the solicitation ordinance that will prevent groups or individuals from entering a roadway to solicit money. The Centerville City Council in June by a 5-0 vote passed the first reading of just such an ordinance. Public pressure and during a subsequent special meeting, the council voted 3-2 to table the ordinance. A second special meeting to discuss the solicitation ordinance is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 7 at City Hall. So, the question of the week is, "Do you or do you not support the ordinance to prevent solicitation of funds in city streets?"

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