News and Press Releases


April 30, 2012

GRAND RAPIDS, MICHIGAN – U.S. Attorney Donald A. Davis announced the sentencing of Lansing-area drug dealer Otis Morris in a Kalamazoo federal courtroom this morning.

Exclaiming that, “The only way to protect society from you and your drug dealing is to incarcerate you for the rest of your life,” Chief Federal District Court Judge Paul L. Maloney sentenced Lansing resident Otis Morris to a term of life imprisonment plus 15 additional years. Judge Maloney stated that it was important to send a message of deterrence not only to Otis Morris, but to anybody else who thought it was acceptable to deal in kilogram quantities of cocaine in the Western District of Michigan. Responding to the Defendant’s statement that “I am a man of my word and promise you I will not sell drugs again,” Judge Maloney remarked that, because of his record and the fact that Morris was selling cocaine while on bond to the federal court, the Defendant’s words were “not worth anything.”

Otis Morris, age 60, was convicted following a jury trial in December of 2011, of conspiracy to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute 5 kilograms or more of cocaine; two counts of being a felon in possession of a firearm; distribution of cocaine; three counts of possession with intent to distribute cocaine; possession with intent to distribute crack cocaine; and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.

The federal indictment charged Otis Morris with being involved in a long-term conspiracy to distribute kilogram quantities of cocaine in and around the Lansing, Michigan, area. Chief Judge Maloney enhanced Morris’s sentence because he was a leader/organizer of the offense, sought to obstruct justice following his arrest by a Michigan State Police Trooper near Paw Paw, Michigan, during May of 2011, and was a career offender based on his having at least three prior convictions for selling cocaine in Ingham and Eaton Counties.

The sentence also included a fine of $125,000, a special assessment of $900 and a ten year term of supervised release in the event that the Defendant were ever to be released from prison.

This case was investigated by the United States Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Drug Enforcement Administration with substantial assistance from the Lansing Police Department, the Lansing and Paw Paw posts of the Michigan State Police, and agents of the Tri-County Metro Narcotics Team.

The case was prosecuted on behalf of the United States by Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark Courtade.


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