HOLLAND, Mich. (WOOD) — A Holland man has been sentenced to more than a decade in federal prison for his role in a lakeshore drug conspiracy that unraveled last summer with the seizure of 42 pounds of cocaine.
Investigators say it was one of the largest cocaine seizures by law enforcement along the lakeshore. Police also seized more than $62,000 in cash and two firearms.
Jason Duenas, who was arrested in the July 2022 bust, appeared in U.S. District Court in Grand Rapids this week, where he was sentenced to 12.5 years in federal prison. He faced a mandatory minimum of 10 years for possession of more than five kilograms of cocaine.
Duenas, 28, was also fined $1,000 and will have to spend five years on federal probation once he gets out of prison.
A co-defendant faces sentencing in June.
Duenas came on police radar several weeks before his arrest after making contact with an undercover police informant, court records show. Investigators, armed with a search warrant, went to Duenas’ apartment on Carmella Lane in Holland.
Fourteen bundles of packaged cocaine were located in the laundry room inside the washer and dryer and also underneath the appliances, court records show. The packaged cocaine weighed in at approximately 19 kilos, or nearly 42 pounds.
About 12 additional ounces, including packaging, was found in a safe inside a bathroom closet.
Smaller amounts of cocaine were found in a bathroom and in the kitchen. Officers also recovered two handguns and more than $62,000 in cash. The bulk of the cash was found inside an empty whiskey case, court records show.
“Jason Duenas is a kilo-quantity drug trafficker who kept more than $400,000 in cocaine and two firearms in his home,’’ read a sentencing memorandum.
Duenas pleaded guilty to the federal drug charge in January. At the time, U.S. Attorney Mark Totten said Duenas planned to sell the cocaine to others for personal profit.
“Drug dealing at kilogram scale doesn’t just ruin lives, it ruins communities,’’ Totten said in a January news release. The West Michigan Enforcement Team led the investigation, with assistance from the Holland Police Department and the Drug Enforcement Administration.