Muskegon Man Sentenced To 20 Years In Prison For Drug Trafficking & Illegal Firearms Possession

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FILE PHOTO: Signage is seen at the United States Department of Justice headquarters in Washington, D.C.

Latest of Multiple Drug Traffickers Sentenced as Part of a Targeted Investigation

          GRAND RAPIDS, MICHIGAN – U.S. Attorney Mark Totten announced today that U.S. District Judge Paul L. Maloney sentenced Delando Johnson, a/k/a “Fox,” of Muskegon, Michigan to 20 years’ imprisonment – 15 years for drug trafficking to be followed by five years for possessing a firearm in furtherance of his drug trafficking. 

          Johnson sold heroin and fentanyl on three occasions in May 2020. When investigators went to arrest Johnson for the deals, they found him in possession of more heroin and fentanyl, as well as crack cocaine, $700, and a digital scale. At Johnson’s home, investigators also found all of the hallmarks of large-scale drug trafficking – more than 280 grams of methamphetamine, nearly 100 grams of fentanyl, and crack cocaine, as well as extended rifle magazines, loose ammunition, digital scales, and baggies used to package drugs for sale. Inside a safe, Johnson had also secreted drugs as well as more than $6,000 in cash, and a stolen, loaded .45 caliber handgun. Johnson later admitted as part of his guilty plea that he intended to sell the drugs for profit and that he had the gun in furtherance of his drug dealing activities.

Crack cocaine, fentanyl, a loaded, stolen .45 caliber pistol, and over $6,000 seized from a safe in Johnson’s home

          At sentencing, Judge Maloney remarked that Johnson’s crimes were “grave indeed,” particularly in light of the deadly nature of fentanyl, the large amount of methamphetamine, and Johnson’s possession of a gun. Judge Maloney characterized Johnson as “a threat to the public” who committed a serious crime and needed to be deterred from future criminal conduct.

          “Delando Johnson’s actions endangered his community and put innocent citizens at risk. Today, he has been held accountable for his actions,” said U.S. Attorney Mark Totten. He continued: “This sentence sends a strong message that large-scale drug trafficking and illegal gun possession will not be tolerated in this district and that drug traffickers who peddle these poisons in our community will face stiff prison sentences.”

          “I would like to thank our law enforcement partners that contributed to removing Mr. Johnson from our streets,” said Orville Greene, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Detroit Division. “Fentanyl is a dangerous drug that contributes to a significant number of the overdoses we see in this country each day. Today, Mr. Johnson was held accountable for his actions.”

          “This sentence is a significant step in disrupting drug trafficking in and around the Muskegon area,” declared Detective Lieutenant Andrew Ambrose, commander of the West Michigan Enforcement Team (WEMET), a division of the Michigan State Police and one of the lead investigative agencies on the case. “This prosecution and the prosecution of Johnson’s associates would not have been possible without the longstanding cooperation between law enforcement agencies. Criminals do not adhere to imaginary jurisdictional boundaries and because of cooperative efforts like the one here, neither do we.”

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          Johnson’s sentence is the most recent in a series of sentences handed down for drug traffickers prosecuted as part of Operation Interstate Zeus targeting drug trafficking in the Muskegon area. Others prosecuted as part of Operation Interstate Zeus received the following sentences:

  • Zachary Kennedy, a/k/a “Zeus” – 210 months in prison for conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine, heroin, fentanyl, and crack cocaine;
  • Brent Wilkerson, a/k/a “Pay”– 144 months in prison for distribution of 50 grams or more of methamphetamine;
  • Daris Jefferson, a/k/a “Smoove” – 90 months in prison for possession of heroin and cocaine base (“crack”) with the intent to distribute it and possession of a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking;
  • Alezay Coleman, a/k/a “Zay” – 87 months in prison for possession of methamphetamine, fentanyl, and heroin with the intent to distribute it;
  • Malik Jones-Smith, a/k/a “9” – 60 months in prison for distribution of five grams or more of methamphetamine; and
  • Carl Johnson, a/k/a “Orangebone,” a/k/a “Bones”– 12 months and 1 day in prison for distribution of cocaine base (“crack”).

          Operation Interstate Zeus is an Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation that began in 2019, led by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and members of Michigan State Police’s West Michigan Enforcement Teams (WEMET). Johnson is the latest in nearly a dozen defendants sentenced in the investigation, which led to the overall seizure of approximately 339 grams of methamphetamine, 113 grams of fentanyl, 93 grams of heroin, and quantities of cocaine and crack cocaine. Investigators also seized six handguns, jewelry worth approximately $20,000 and more than $20,000 in cash.  

          OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level drug traffickers, money launderers, gangs, and transnational criminal organizations that threaten the United States by using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach that leverages the strengths of federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies against criminal networks. Additional information about the OCDETF Program can be found at https://www.justice.gov/OCDETF.    

          This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Stephanie M. Carowan and Vito S. Solitro. 

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