Hamtramck Man Sentenced to 12 years’ Imprisonment on Methamphetamine Distribution Charges

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DETROIT – Don Valentino Zdybel, 61, formerly of Hamtramck, Michigan was sentenced yesterday to 12 years’ imprisonment on charges of possession methamphetamine with the intent to distribute it in the Detroit area, announced Acting United States Attorney Saima Mohsin.

Moshin was joined in the announcement by Special Agent in Charge Keith Martin, Drug Enforcement Administration, Detroit Division, Special Agent in Charge Rodney Hopkins, United States Postal Inspection Service and Peter Lucido, the Macomb County Prosecuting Attorney.

According to court records, from April of 2019 until May 27, 2020, when he was arrested, Zdybel was receiving methamphetamine sent from California to the Detroit area via the United States Mail and also personally transporting the drugs from California to Michigan himself.  Arrested in Macomb County in February 2020 on methamphetamine and heroin possession charges, Zdybel was held without bond.  He later convinced a Macomb County Circuit Judge in May of 2020 to release him on bond due to his fear of catching Covid-19.  Zdybel then travelled from Michigan to California to pick up another load of methamphetamine.    The Macomb County prosecution was later merged with the federal charges and Zdybel was prosecuted for the full extent of his criminal conduct in United States District Court.

“Zdybel is a man who was content to sell poison, in the form of methamphetamine, to generate an income for himself,” said Acting US Attorney Mohsin.  “Zdybel has an extensive prior criminal record but his prior convictions and jail sentences have failed to deter him from committing crimes.  He was given a chance to live a law abiding life when a judge released him from jail where he was being held without bond on a pending drug trafficking charge because  Zdybel expressed fear of contracting COVID-19 in jail.  He was released and Zdybel didn’t miss a beat. He went right back to drug trafficking while on bond.  Those who cannot be deterred from committing crimes belong in prison.  Zdybel’s sentence of 12 years will protect the public from this recidivist criminal.”

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Lucido praised the work of the Warren and Sterling Heights Police Departments whose early efforts in the case served to build substantial and important evidence of the breadth of Zdybel’s conduct.  “The excellent work of these officers and the ability to partner with DEA and the United States Attorney’s Office resulted in removing a dangerous drug dealer who was effectively destroying lives in Macomb County” said Lucido. 

This case was investigated by special agents with the DEA, Officers from the Warren and Sterling Heights Police Departments and was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney John O’Brien.

October is Domestic Violence Awareness & Prevention Month. Personally, everyone knows someone who has been affected by intimate-partner violence. Professionally, those who work in the criminal justice system continue to see rises in intimate partner violence despite tireless efforts to combat this epidemic. The COVID-19 pandemic has caused further strain on domestic violence both nationally and internationally. Risk factors have exponentially increased such as, unemployment, substance use, isolation at home, mental health issues, etc. As risk factors increase leading to rising violence; resources for victims were at a record low due to closures and staffing shortages. Unfortunately, pandemic or not, the violence doesn’t stop and neither do we.


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