News and Press Releases

28 People Arrested for Methamphetamine Operation

March 14, 2012

Twenty-eight suspects were arrested in Sanilac and St. Clair Counties over the last two days for their alleged roles in a methamphetamine operation, announced United States Attorney Barbara McQuade.

U.S. Attorney McQuade was joined in the announcement by Special Agent in Charge Robert Corso, United States Drug Enforcement Administration.

The following individuals have all been charged in criminal complaints with violating a recently enacted federal law designed to stem the growth of clandestine methamphetamine operations:

BRAEKEVELT, Steven Thomas
BRIDGE, Christopher Thomas
FLEURY Jr., Paul David
FLEURY, Sandra Michelle
GROH, Robert Angus
GRUGEL, Sabrina Sue
HENDERSON, Marie Elena
HILLIKER, Paul Phillip
JANSEN, Charlene Billie
LEVITT, Kimberly Ann
LOXTON, Edward Keith
LOXTON Jr., Richard Lee
McCORMICK, John Wesley
McTAGGART, Dale Michael
MERTZ, Henry Jacob
MILLER, James Dale
MILLER, Stephanie Ann
MINOR, Jane Ann
NIVARRE, William
OLVERA, Florence Catherine
OLVERA, Victor Richard
PHILLIPS, Stephen Paul
PRIGMORE, Brittany Nicole
RIOPPELE, Treva Denise
ROBBINS, Joshua Allen
ROSS, James Alan
ROSS Jr., John William
RUSHTON Jr., Craig Allen
SAMPSON, Belinda Kay
SAMPSON, William Gregory
SHOUDY, Joshua David
SMITH, Nicole Lynn
SMITH, Stephen Duane
VANCAMP, Brandon Lee
WARD, Tanesha Marie
WILLIAMS, Kenneth David-Lee
WIRTH, Michael Scott
WIRTH, Todd Christopher
YACQUES, Kevin Edward

In August 2011, a joint investigation was initiated with the St. Clair County Sheriff's Department, which identified individuals conspiring to manufacture methamphetamine. The investigation uncovered a number of subjects who knowingly violated the pseudoephedrine purchase limitations established by state and federal law. Many of the defendants frequently traveled in groups to multiple pharmacies throughout several counties in Michigan to obtain pseudoephedrine and other chemicals/components used in the "One Pot" aka "Shake and Bake" manufacturing method. These items were subsequently provided to a "Meth Cook,” who often paid these subjects for their services with methamphetamine.

On March 13th, 2012, law enforcement officers began the execution of 40 federal arrest warrants and five federal search warrants, obtained by DEA agents, in furtherance of this investigation. This operation involved the co-operative efforts of the DEA, Michigan State Police, St. Clair and Sanilac County Sheriff's Departments, Port Huron Police Department, Child Protective Services, Fire Departments, and the federal and state prosecutor's offices.

According to the complaint, these 40 subjects together made more than 800 purchases of pseudoephedrine products during 2011. Approximately 400 "One Pot" cooks were conducted with these purchases, which would then produce approximately 900 pounds of hazardous waste.

United States Attorney Barbara L. McQuade said, “Law enforcement is using this new law to detect manufacturers of methamphetamine in hopes of curbing the growth of this drug in southeast Michigan. Methamphetamine takes a terrible toll on its abusers and creates hazardous waste as a byproduct.”

DEA Special Agent in Charge Corso stated, “Methamphetamine is a nasty, highly addictive drug that not only wreaks havoc on the user, but also the environment. These "mom and pop" operations, one pot production methods, and the "smurfing" of pseudoephedrine are all attempts to fly under the radar of law enforcement. This investigation shows that DEA and our state and local counterparts are committed to eliminating the abuse and production of methamphetamine by attacking the traffickers at all levels.”

Criminal complaints are not findings of guilt. Individuals charged by criminal complaints are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty. All defendants are entitled to a fair trial where the government must prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.








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