CENTRALIA — A 47-year-old Centralia man was arrested Wednesday morning after the Centralia Police Department High-Risk Entry and Arrest Team served a federal arrest warrant in the 500 block of North Locust Street.

Robert Lawson
(Source: CPD)

According to Centralia Police Chief Greg Dodson, Michael Lawson was taken into custody at his residence on North Locust by members of the HRT team around 7:45 a.m. Wednesday.

Dodson says an Investigator from the Centralia Police Department testified in front of a Federal Grand Jury at the US District Court for the Southern District of Illinois in Benton Illinois Tuesday morning and obtained a federal indictment against Lawson for Possession with Intent to Distribute a Controlled substance.

It was decided to pursue a Federal indictment against Lawson due to his extensive criminal history. Lawson has 24 charges and 6 convictions for Dangerous Drugs, 2 charges and 2 convictions for weapons offenses, 1 charge and 1 conviction for Burglary, as well as multiple other arrests for other offenses.

While executing the arrest warrant officers observed evidence of a continued current drug presence at Lawson’s residence and at the time of this Press Release Detectives are applying for a federal search warrant of his home.

The Centralia Police Department has developed a partnership with the US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Illinois. Centralia Police will be identifying cases and subjects like Lawson’s that qualify for Federal prosecution where sentencing guidelines for these offenses are much more stringent than the state statute.

Another advantage is once convicted and sentenced to the Federal Prison system an inmate is detained at a higher percentage of the time they were sentenced to than the state prison system.

We feel that this Federal partnership will be a key component to combating Drug Trafficking and Violent Crime in our city.

This will also help take pressure off of the State court system at the same time allowing them to better focus on the majority of our cases that we will still be referring to the state court system.