Former strip-club owner pleads guilty to drug charges
Former strip-club owner Lance Migliaccio pleaded guilty Wednesday to five felony counts of possessing Ecstasy with the intent of distributing the drug and faces five years in prison as part of the plea agreement.
Migliaccio, who once owned La Boheme in Denver, is scheduled to be sentenced by U.S. District Judge Robert Blackburn on March 5.
Migliaccio's indictment included charges that he possessed powerful military-grade explosives along with the drug allegations, but prosecutors intend to dismiss the weapons charges as part of the plea agreement.
Prosecutor Colleen Covell declined to say why the explosives charges won't be pursued.
Blackburn could decide to forgo the sentence recommended by prosecutors and order Migliaccio to spend 20 years in prison on each count if he decides the agreement is not appropriate.
Migliaccio also is expected to forfeit his property because prosecutors allege drug profits were used to purchase his home.
The case against Migliaccio exposed a disagreement within the Drug Enforcement Administration over the way the investigation was handled.
A DEA agent testified during one of Migliaccio's hearings that the investigation into his crimes was cut short in 2001 because the head of the DEA was in Denver from Washington, D.C., and that higher-ups wanted to hold a news conference about some of the indictments that already had been made.
The agents were not ready to expose their case to the public because they thought the investigation was still two levels below Migliaccio in the drug-distribution ring, the agent testified.
Jeff Sweetin, DEA special agent in charge of the Denver office, has said that the agent was "under informed" about the decision to halt the investigation in 2001.
The DEA began watching Migliaccio because several informants said he was the leader of an Ecstasy ring and was transporting the drugs from Amsterdam to Denver in hollowed-out furniture.
By Felisa Cardona
The Denver Post