GRAND RAPIDS, MICHIGAN — United States Attorney Andrew Birge announced that Maurice Schanta Carson (50) of Kalamazoo, Michigan was sentenced to 23 years in prison for possession with intent to distribute over a pound of methamphetamine and possession of a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking. A repeat offender in Kalamazoo, Carson pled guilty to these charges in October 2021.
Carson’s charges and conviction stemmed from his arrest on outstanding warrants in Kalamazoo County on February 3, 2021. Inside Carson’s vehicle, investigators found a backpack containing over a pound of methamphetamine, a digital scale, and a loaded pistol. At the time of his arrest, Carson was serving a probationary sentence issued in 2020 by the Ninth Circuit Court in Kalamazoo County for possession of methamphetamine. A search warrant of Carson’s residence later that day yielded more methamphetamine, more firearms, and cash from drug trafficking. Law enforcement had to rearrest Carson on February 10, 2021 where, again, he was found in possession of approximately a pound of methamphetamine and a rifle. Carson was lodged in Kalamazoo County on local charges but made bond. Thereafter, he was charged by federal indictment and detained in federal custody pending resolution of his federal charges. In the months preceding his arrest, the Kalamazoo Valley Enforcement Team investigated Carson as a pound-level distributor of methamphetamine in and around Kalamazoo.
“Methamphetamine is a scourge in the Western District of Michigan” and “firearms and drugs are a toxic mix,” stated U.S. District Judge Paul L. Maloney when announcing Carson’s sentence. Judge Maloney observed that methamphetamine is the most frequent drug at issue in the narcotics cases that he sentences. When imposing Carson’s 23-year sentence, Judge Maloney further noted that Carson had a criminal history that began at the age of sixteen, that Carson had the highest criminal history possible under the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines, and that Carson was a threat to the law-abiding public.
“Methamphetamine has flooded Western Michigan; it is the narcotic that my office charges the most,” stated U.S. Attorney Andrew Birge. “Law enforcement agencies are working together in West Michigan out of a commitment to bring traffickers contributing to this scourge to justice – and those who traffic in this highly addictive, ruinous substance should know that they face lengthy prison terms as a consequence,” added U.S. Attorney Birge.
“This investigation demonstrates DEA’s steadfast determination to reduce drug trafficking and the associated violent crime that affects the Kalamazoo area,” said Kent R. Kleinshmidt, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s Detroit Field Division. “We are proud to partner with Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety and the Kalamazoo Valley Enforcement Team to take guns and drugs off the streets with the intent of making our communities safer for all.”
“The Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety stands steadfast with the community to address narcotics sales and the associated crimes that stem from them to improve the overall quality of life in our city,” said Captain Rafael Diaz, Commander of the Kalamazoo Valley Enforcement Team. “It is unfortunate when individuals choose a life of crime even after being given multiple opportunities to change their life for the better. In such cases, the Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety partners with our local, state, and federal law enforcement counterparts, including the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Michigan and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration to hold individuals accountable to the fullest extent of the law,” added Captain Diaz.
This case was investigated by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, and the Kalamazoo Valley Enforcement Team, a narcotics task force operating in Kalamazoo County. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Joel S. Fauson.