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GetSmart About Drugs - A DEA Resource for Parents

News Release
June 13, 2003

Asset Forfeiture Greatly Benefits Sanilac County Residents

Sanilac Drug Task Force Director Bill Gray, Deputy Ed Jarosz, Sgt. Bob Willis, Sheriff Virg Stricker, DEA ASAC Jimmy Fox III, Sgt. Garry Biniecki, DEA RAC Sherman Cecil, Det. Mark RugglesJUN 11 - Sandusky, MI - Representatives from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) recently presented the Sanilac Drug Task Force with an asset forfeiture check for $132,971.00. Jimmy S. Fox III, Assistant Special Agent in Charge of the Detroit Field Division of the DEA, and Sherman R. Cecil, Resident Agent In Charge of the Saginaw Resident Office of the DEA presented the check to Sanilac Drug Task Force Director William Gray and Sanilac County Sheriff Virgil Strickler.

The asset forfeiture check represents proceeds from the 2002 sale of a 75-acre farm on Argyle Road in Sanilac County, Michigan. The farm was utilized as part of a large-scale marijuana operation. The property was forfeited to the U.S. Department of Justice during a criminal trial in 2001.

The lengthy investigation began on Halloween night in 1996 when an elaborate marijauna growing, processing and distribution operation was discovered in barns and cornfields on the Argyle Road farm. This grow operation had the capacity to cultivate over 20,000 marijuana plants per growing season with the potential profit of over twenty million dollars annually.

In 2001, the owner of the property, Marcus Robinson, was found guilty of Conspiracy to Manufacture 1,000 or more marijuana plants. He was subsequently sentenced to ten and a half years in federal prison. Through the hard work and dedication of the Sanilac Task Force officers the investigation eventually linked ten other individuals from Indiana and Kentucky to this illegal drug operation. Due to the magnitude and multi-state nature of the investigation, Drug Task Force Director Gray stated that the successful number of convictions and the amount of assets seized could not have been possible without the involvement of DEA's Saginaw Resident Office and the Bay City U.S. Attorney's Office.

This single forfeiture represents more than 25% of the Sanilac Drug Task Force's annual operating budget. Director Gray plans to utilize the money by enhancing the drug prevention programs as well as drug enforcement operations in Sanilac County.

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