Oakland County Drug Trafficking Organization Charged with Drug Distribution Causing Death
An indictment was unsealed today charging 12 individuals with selling heroin mixed with fentanyl in Oakland County and elsewhere, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Daniel L. Lemisch. Seven of the defendants were charged with distributing fentanyl and heroin resulting in overdose death and serious bodily injury.
Joining Lemisch in the announcement were Special Agent in Charge David P. Gelios, Federal Bureau of Investigation and Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard.
The drug-trafficking organization, known as the “TEAM”, is alleged to have been selling heroin in Oakland County, as well as Livingston, Macomb and Wayne counties since 2010. “TEAM” was formed when members of the “Hustle Boys” and the “Wall Street Gorillaz” joined together to distribute heroin.
According to the indictment, “TEAM” customers contacted members of the conspiracy and arranged heroin sales by phone. Customers called one of several drug phones and a member of “TEAM” would deliver the heroin either to the buyer’s house or to a neutral location, including parking lots in various strip malls throughout Pontiac. “TEAM” members also sold heroin from two “trap” houses located at 595 Granada Drive in Pontiac and 380 West Hopkins Avenue in Pontiac. “TEAM” informed their customers of heroin for sale by sending individual and group text messages with the word “FIRE.”
Charged were Timothy Williams, 26, of Pontiac, Kristopher Anderson, 40, of Pontiac, Deaire Rayford, 26, of Auburn Hills, Christopher Light, 25, of Commerce, Kourvoisiea Pittman, 27, of Keego Harbor, Robert Bell, Jr., 28, of Pontiac, Deandre Mullen, 26, of Pontiac, Steven Erkins, 24, of Pontiac, Anthony Lee, 27,of Pontiac, Quanzay Milton, 32, of Pontiac, Antonio Bell, 26, of Waterford and James Bellmore, 50, of Waterford. All twelve were charged with conspiracy to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute over one kilogram of heroin and heroin mixed with fentanyl.
“TEAM” was led by Timothy Williams, who went by the name “T2.” Williams was also charged with distribution of heroin resulting in serious bodily injury to four victims.
Anderson and another man, Marlon McCallum,35, of White Lake, were charged with distribution of heroin and fentanyl resulting in the death of one victim.
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.
In an effort to combat the growing epidemic of opioid and fentanyl related overdoses and deaths, the United States Attorney’s Office, along with our federal, state, and local law enforcement partners, have been going after individuals who distribute dangerous narcotics and who are profiting off this crisis. To date, we have charged 30 such individuals. Drug dealers are making the drugs stronger, and more deadly, by lacing heroin with fentanyl – a drug 30 to 50 times more powerful than heroin.
In August of this year, the Attorney General selected the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Michigan as one of 12 offices across the country to participate in a Department of Justice pilot project to pursue opioid-related health care fraud. The three-year program will focus specifically on opioid-related health care fraud using data to identify and prosecute individuals that are contributing to this prescription opioid epidemic. Experienced Assistant United States Attorneys will focus solely on investigating and prosecuting health care fraud related to prescription opioids, including pill mill schemes and pharmacies that unlawfully divert or dispense prescription opioids for illegitimate purposes.
In addition to our prosecutions, the United States Attorney’s Office, along with the FBI and DEA have been participating in outreach efforts around the state that educate communities about the dangers of heroin, opioids, and synthetic opioids like fentanyl. One such outreach program is the DEA 360 Strategy. The 360 Strategy takes an innovative three-pronged approach to combating heroin/opioid use through: (1) coordinated law-enforcement actions against drug cartels and heroin traffickers in specific communities; (2) diversion-control actions against DEA registrants operating outside the law and long-term engagement with pharmaceutical-drug manufacturers, wholesalers, pharmacies, and practitioners; and (3) community outreach through local partnerships that empower communities to take back affected neighborhoods after enforcement actions and prevent the same problems from cropping up again.
Since 2016, Michigan’s FBI, DEA, and United States Attorney Offices have joined community groups to host over 50 proactive opioid prevention events which showcase the documentary film “Chasing the Dragon: The Life of an Opiate Addict.”
The film tells the raw truth of how deadly this problem is in our country. People going through opioid and prescription drug abuse each tell a similar story – from how they became dependent on Opioids and how quickly their lives spiraled out of control as addiction took hold of their lives. The FBI and DEA created this documentary, which is at times raw and uncomfortable, to help educate the public about the growing opioid epidemic in the United States.
"Chasing the Dragon: the Life of an Opiate Addict" aims to educate the public, especially students and young adults, about the dangers of Opioid use and addiction. The path to addiction for many begins with their first use of Opioids. Because the use of heroin is increasingly deadly, the FBI, DEA, and the USAO have collaborated to educate the public and to deliver a compelling message of deterrence and prevention to those exposed to these deadly drugs.
To view the film in its entirety, click on the hyperlink “Chasing the Dragon: The Life of an Opiate Addict”.
"Overdose deaths from heroin and fentanyl have become a national epidemic, including here in Michigan, as people addicted to prescription pills become desperate to feed their addictions," Lemisch said. "Law enforcement agencies are banding together to prosecute traffickers who are exploiting these addictions and risking lives for profit."
The trafficking of heroin and fentanyl by neighborhood gangs continues to cause significant harm and death in our communities”, said Maureen Reddy, Assistant Special Agent in Charge, Detroit Division of the FBI. "Today’s indictments and arrests are a result of the hard work of the FBI’s Oakland County Gang and Violent Crime Task Force (OCGVCTF) along with the Oakland County Sheriff’s Narcotics Enforcement Team (NET). The FBI will continue to prioritize the dismantlement of violent gangs and their networks responsible for the distribution of fentanyl and heroin”.
“It is due to the incredible work of the Oakland County FBI Violent Crime and Gang Task Force, the Oakland County Narcotic Enforcement Team, the work of the Sheriff’s Office Pontiac Substation Directed Patrol Unit and our local police chiefs and their departments that we can bring justice to those who have been a victim of these death dealers,” said Sheriff Michael J. Bouchard. “This is a clear message to those who prey on members of our community. We will not tolerate drug dealers in Oakland County. We are coming for you, and will take you off our streets for good.”
The charges in the indictment are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
This investigation was conducted the FBI’s Oakland County Gang and Violent Crime Task Force (OCGVCTF) along with the Oakland County Sheriff’s Narcotics Enforcement Team (NET). . The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys John O’Brien and Shane