GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Authorities announced that 27 people have been convicted and sentenced to federal prison in a wide-ranging cocaine trafficking conspiracy, which was led by a man of Grand Rapids.
The U.S. Department of Justice says the conspiracy was led by Howard Mayfield of Grand Rapids. He pleaded guilty in the conspiracy and was sentenced to 360 months in prison.
An investigation into the drug trafficking organization began in early 2017, authorities say.
They say the organization distributed cocaine in the Grand Rapids area between April 2017 and May 2018. Mayfield worked with Texas-based cocaine distributor Wilbert Gentry before working with Craig Schenvinsky, out of the Muskegon and Detroit areas, and Quincy Delon Lofton of Detroit.
Mayfield’s sister, Tamara Nelson, also known as Tamara Mingo, was the last person to be sentenced in the conspiracy. She was sentenced Friday to 139 months in prison.
Mayfield distributed to several conspirators who then sold the drugs to customers: Tamara Nelson, Ryan Rashad Brown, Yvette Sheree Brown, Donald Bernard Gardner, Martin Luther Dukes, Douglas Emmanuel Carey III, Nicole Lynn Starr, Carlus Bridgeforth, Martinellus Nix, Demarcus Pinder, Trebarius McGee, Pedro Antonio Mateo, Marvin Nix, Stephawn McFadden, Troy Jordai Lewis, Jeffrey Allan Dean, and Jessica Warren (also known as Jessica Gatica).
Several others helped in transporting or storing the drugs and proceeds: Jennifer Tadeo, Elsie Bridget Boston, Monica Laster, Shamekia Liptrot, Taniedra Sade White and Salena Kolarich.
Several agenciers assisted in the investigation including the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Michigan State Police, Metropolitan Enforcement Team, the Kentwood Police Department and the Grand Rapids Police Department.
“Cocaine and cocaine base are powerful drugs that continue to wreak havoc on individual users, their families, and their communities. Cocaine overdose death rates have risen significantly in recent years, particularly in the Midwest, and about 1 in 5 overdose deaths involve cocaine. Along with our law enforcement partners, we take cocaine offenses seriously and are invested in disrupting the channels drug-traffickers use to distribute illegal and dangerous drugs in the Western District of Michigan,” Birge said in a statement.