A federal grand jury in Grand Rapids returned an indictment charging eight individuals from the Upper Peninsula and two individuals from the Detroit area with a conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine, in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 846, 841(a)(1). Some of the defendants are also charged with distribution of methamphetamine, distribution of fentanyl, and possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine, in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1). For more information, a copy of the indictment is available on the public docket. United States v. Smith, et al., No. 2:22-cr-01, ECF No. 13 (W.D. Mich.).
The Drug Enforcement Administration; Upper Peninsula Substance Enforcement Team; the Bureau of Indian Affairs; Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives; FBI – Safe Trails Task Force; Michigan State Police; Delta County Sheriff’s Office; Hannahville Tribal Police Department; Keweenaw Bay Indian Community Tribal Police; and Troy Police Department investigated the case. On February 1, 2022, investigators arrested six of the defendants. Four defendants were already in custody.
Five of the defendants made their initial court appearance on Wednesday, February 2, 2022 before U.S. Magistrate Judge Maarten Vermaat; one made his initial court appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge Sally J. Berens. The other defendants will have their initial court appearances in the near future. If convicted, Smith faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years and up to life in prison, Arnold and Roberts face a mandatory minimum of 10 years and up to life in prison, Sagataw faces a maximum sentence of up to 30 years, and the other defendants face maximum sentences of up to 20 years. A federal district court judge would impose any sentence only if the defendant pleads guilty or is found guilty by a unanimous jury and would determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
An indictment is merely an allegation and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.