The Ottumwa Courier

Local News

January 19, 2009

DeLazaro convicted

DES MOINES — The trial took three days. The conviction took three hours.

It didn’t take a jury long to convict Rafael DeLazaro of conspiracy to sell at least 5 kilograms of cocaine. They received the case just before 11:30 a.m. Friday, after both sides made their final arguments. They returned at 2 p.m. with a guilty verdict.

Few doubted the outcome. DeLazaro was the final defendant in the case against participants in a multi-million dollar Ottumwa cocaine ring. He was the only one to go to trial; the others all cut deals. Part of the deals was the agreement that they would testify against DeLazaro.

Witnesses included William Albert Edwards III, the man investigators said ran the ring using Chicago connections and his ties to the Insane Deuces, a Chicago-area street gang.

DeLazaro had insisted throughout the case he would be found not guilty, fighting at one point to change attorneys to bolster his chances. But his chances dimmed as, one by one, the other 11 defendants took plea bargains and told authorities about their involvement as well as DeLazaro’s.

All that remains in the cases are sentencing proceedings for the defendants. None are set at this time, and it is unclear how long the courts will take to reach that point. The gap between a conviction and sentencing in the federal courts can be months.

DeLazaro is scheduled for a March status conference between the probation office and DeLazaro’s attorney. That conference will determine whether the case is ready for sentencing.

DeLazaro remains in federal custody pending his sentencing. He could face as much as a life sentence.

Matt Milner can be reached at (641) 683-5359 or via e-mail at

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