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Meth trafficking remains a problem; several dealers get decades in prison

Recent cases include a drug trafficking organization that used the mail to ship hundreds of pounds of crystal methamphetamine into southwestern Michigan.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Several people have been sentenced in federal court for methamphetamine crimes, including participants in a drug trafficking operation that brought hundreds of pounds of crystal methamphetamine into western Michigan using the U.S. Postal Service.

Two of the defendants sentenced last week each got 20 years.

They were part of a criminal organization that trafficked methamphetamine in southwestern Michigan, including Kalamazoo, between 2016 and 2018.

U.S. Attorney Andrew Birge says methamphetamine trafficking remains problematic, even amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“The most common type of drug that we see and that we end up prosecuting is methamphetamine,’’ he said.

Hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash was sent to meth suppliers in California and Arizona, who in turn shipped hundreds of pounds of meth back to Michigan through the mail, federal investigators said.

Law enforcement intercepted three packages that contained approximately 14 pounds of crystal meth. It had a purity level of between 96-99 percent.

The investigation, which involved numerous federal, state and local police agencies, resulted in two dozen federal prosecutions. Eighteen of the 24 defendants received sentences ranging from 10 years to nearly 22 years.

The sentences “should serve as a stark warning to others who might aspire to become drug dealers or provide assistance to them,’’ Birge said.

In an unrelated case, a man was sentenced to a decade in prison for methamphetamine and other drug offenses in Muskegon County.

Geontay Devon Patterson, 23, was arrested following a Muskegon Heights traffic stop in February of 2019 that netted two hydrocodone pills, crystal methamphetamine, heroin and crack cocaine. 

Patterson later admitted he intended to sell these drugs at a party, which he was on his way to attend, court records show.

“We hope the message gets out,’’ Birge said. “We are still watching, we are still pursuing and we are going to continue bringing these organizations to justice.’’

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