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Press Release

Detroit-Area Drug Trafficking Organization Charged for Overdose Deaths from Fentanyl

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Michigan

A superseding indictment was returned yesterday adding new criminal charges against 13 Detroit-area men accused of conspiring to distribute heroin, crack cocaine and other drugs, U.S. Attorney Barbara L. McQuade announced today.  Nine of the defendants were charged with distributing fentanyl and heroin resulting in overdose death and serious bodily injury.

Joining McQuade in the announcement were Special Agent in Charge Timothy J. Plancon, Drug Enforcement Administration, Detroit Division, and Police Commissioner Jere Green, Warren Police Department and Mayor James R. Fouts, City of Warren.

The drug-trafficking organization, known as the ”Polo” organization, became the focus of investigation beginning in March, when heroin distributed by the group was connected to a spike in overdose deaths. 

Charged were Demarco Tempo, 27 (also known as “Polo”) of Warren; Haratio Heard, 25; Juwan Allen, 22; Darius Gordon, 25; Alvin Coates, 21; Javon Brown, 25; Greg Howard, 20; Dennis Jones, 21; Amacio Alexander, 39; Marcus Gilbert, 22; Kenneth Sadler, 28; Darreyl Coneal, 28; and Randy Stewart, 25, all from Detroit.  All were charged with conspiracy to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute controlled substances, including heroin, crack cocaine, powder cocaine and fentanyl.  Defendants Tempo, Heard, Allen, Gordon, Coates, Brown, Howard, Jones and Gilbert were charged in the conspiracy with distribution of heroin and fentanyl where death and serious bodily harm occurred to multiple victims.  Some of the defendants were also charged with substantive counts of drug distribution.  Tempo was charged with distribution of heroin and fentanyl resulting in the death of one victim.  Tempo, Gordon and Coats were also charged with distributions of heroin and fentanyl resulting in serious bodily injury to three other victims.  The law defines serious bodily injury as an injury that involves a substantial risk of death.  The charges of distribution causing death or serious bodily injury, or the conspiracy to commit the offence each carry a mandatory minimum penalty of 20 years’ imprisonment. 

Tempo, Heard, Allen, Gordon, Brown, Howard, Jones, and Alexander were also charged with conspiring to possess firearms in furtherance of the drug-trafficking conspiracy.  Sadler was charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm.

"Overdose deaths from heroin and fentanyl are becoming a national epidemic, including here in Michigan, as people addicted to prescription pills become desperate to feed their addictions," McQuade said.  "Law enforcement agencies are banding together to prosecute traffickers who are exploiting these addictions and risking lives for profit."

DEA Special Agent in Charge Plancon said, “It is a priority of DEA to identify and investigate those who distribute drugs that result in overdose and death.  The charges announced today should make it clear to all drug dealers that they will face consequences, for the harm that they inflict on the user and on society.  The Warren Police Department deserves significant credit for devoting the time and effort needed to successfully investigate and bring these individuals to prosecution.

Mayor Fouts stated, “I would like to highly commend both the Warren Police Special Investigations Unit and the DEA for their hard work and dedication in this investigation which led to the grand jury indictment charging the leader of a drug trafficking organization with the death and overdoses of four victims. This initiative was started by the Warren Police from my request to Commissioner Jere Green to institute a massive drug bust against this drug trafficking organization following the OD deaths of seven Warren residents earlier this year.”

The charges in the indictment are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

This investigation was led by the Warren Police Department’s Special Investigations Division, in partnership with the Drug Enforcement Administration.  The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Benjamin Coats.

Updated September 2, 2016

Drug Trafficking