A local repeat offender, who has run afoul of the law nearly a dozen times since 1995, is back behind bars after he allegedly engaged in illegal drug activity about six months after his release from state prison.

Atchison County Sheriff’s Office authorities arrested Darren Lee Powell, 40, Atchison, on June 5 in connection with the following felonies:

❯ possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute within 1,000 feet of a school;

❯ possession of drug-related paraphernalia with intent to distribute;

use of a telecommunication facility in connection with distribution of a controlled substance;

and failure to obtain tax stamp(s) for controlled substances.

The alleged offenses are defined by a warrant filed in Atchison County District Court. The most serious offense is said to have occurred within 1,000 feet of Central School, an Atchison Public Schools USD 409 institute at 215 North Eighth St.

Powell heard formal charges announced during the criminal docket Friday morning in district court. The court also advised him of the following potential penalties:

up to 144 months in state prison for the 1,000 feet distribution charge;

up to 42 months in state prison for the paraphernalia charge;

up to 23 months of hard time for the telecommunication device charge;

and up to 13 months’ confinement for the tax stamp charge.

Powell applied for a court-appointed defense counsel, prompting the selection of Leavenworth-based attorney Kevin Reardon. Powell is tentatively scheduled to make another court appearance at 1 p.m. Monday, June 10, as part of the criminal court docket.

Sheriff Jack Laurie said the arrest arose from complaints about suspected drug activity in the 800 block of Kansas Avenue, within Atchison city limits. The case centers on an alleged transaction that occurred in that area in February. Sheriff’s Office narcotic investigators recently forwarded the case to the office of Atchison County Attorney Sherri Becker, Laurie said.

Sherrif’s Office authorities apprehended Powell at about 8:30 p.m. Wednesday and booked him into the Atchison County Jail. He remained confined there as of Friday afternoon, pending fulfillment of a $50,000 surety bond agreement.

An online report obtained from Kansas Criminal Justice Information System indicates Powell has 10 convictions spanning from 1995 to 2013 in addition to his most recent, a 2017 conviction for fleeing or eluding a law enforcement officer, a felony, with or more moving violations along with two misdemeanors.

The report also reflects Powell’s most recent stay in a penitentiary commenced at Aug. 30, 2018, at El Dorado Correctional Facility. He saw release on Sept. 28, 2018, to Atchison County.

Mary Meyers can be reached via


and via @MaryMeyersglobe on Twitter

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