KCK man gets 35 years as part of drug ring

A Kansas City, Kan., man has received the longest prison sentence yet in a huge drug ring that federal prosecutors say tried to take over a neighborhood near Northwest Middle School.

Mark A. Brooks, 34, was sent away for 420 months this week by U.S. District Judge Kathryn H. Vratil for conspiracy to distribute cocaine and crack and for maintaining a drug house within 1,000 feet of a school. He also was ordered to forfeit nearly $1.4 million.

That 35-year sentence is the toughest penalty so far among 17 defendants found guilty after a major law enforcement effort called Operation Camera Shy that was triggered in 2006 by concerned residents in the area of the school, 2400 N. 18th St. in Kansas City, Kan.

Thirteen other defendants have been sentenced to terms ranging from two years’ probation to 300 months. Three defendants have yet to be sentenced.

The drug ring is believed to have distributed more than $4.2 million worth of cocaine and crack in the streets of Kansas City, Kan. Brooks operated out of a house at 2632 N. 20th St. A jury found him gjuilty of conspiracy to distribute and possession with intent to distribute more than five kilograms of cocaine and more than 280 grams of crack cocaine.

Investigators used undercover buyers and electronic surveillance to bust the ring. Agencies involved were the Federal Bureau of Investigation, police in Kansas City, Kan., Kansas City, Mo., Leavenworth and Lee’s Summit, the Jackson County Sheriff’s Department and the Internal revenue Service.