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Press Release

Two Drug Traffickers Sent to Prison for Decades for the Execution-Style Murder of Two Men

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

DETROIT – Two drug traffickers were sentenced to 25 and 30 thirty years in prison for murdering two individuals over a drug debt, United States Attorney Dawn N. Ison announced today.

Ison was joined in the announcement by Acting Special Agent in Charge Devin J. Kowalski, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Detroit Division.

Mariano Garcia, age 53, of Brownsville, Texas, was sentenced by United States District Judge Terrence G. Berg to a 25-year prison term. His co-defendant Michael Griffin, age 40, of Birmingham, Alabama, was sentenced by Judge Berg to 30 years in prison. Both men previously pleaded guilty to (1) conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine and heroin, (2) interstate travel with the intent to kill or injure where death resulted, and (3) interstate travel in aid of illegal activity where death resulted.

As part of their guilty pleas, both Garcia and Griffin admitted to engaging in a long-term drug trafficking conspiracy involving cocaine supplied by Garcia in Texas and distributed by Griffin and others in Birmingham, Alabama, and Detroit, Michigan. At his plea, Garcia admitted to encouraging Griffin to travel from Alabama to Detroit to collect a drug debt from a Detroit-based member of the conspiracy. In December 2016, Griffin and another individual came to Detroit for the purpose of killing that member of the conspiracy. After coming to the conspirator’s home, Griffin and the other individual tied up and shot to death the Detroit-based co-conspirator and another man. They used pillows to muffle the sounds of the gunshots. At his plea, Garcia, who remained in Texas, also admitted he encouraged Griffin to hurt the co-conspirator to collect the drug debt. After the murders, Griffin and Garcia returned to their drug business. Garcia and Griffin also admitted that they had distributed between 50 and 150 kilograms of cocaine during the conspiracy.

“Today’s sentences should serve as a warning to drug dealers who commit violence in our community that my office will use every resource at its disposal to bring you to justice. I am hopeful that the families of the victims will receive some measure of solace from these substantial sentences.” U.S. Attorney Ison said.

“Our hope is that today's sentencings bring a sense of relief and justice to the victims’ families, whose loved ones were murdered to further a drug distribution conspiracy,” said Devin J. Kowalski, Acting Special in Charge of the FBI’s Detroit Field Office. “The defendants' actions were indefensible, cruel, and unjust. We are grateful for our federal, state, and local partners who worked so closely to solve this case.”

The case was investigated by special agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Drug Enforcement Administration, and Detroit Police Department’s Homicide Task Force. It was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Rajesh Prasad and Robert Moran.

This effort is part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) operation. OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level criminal organizations that threaten the United States using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach. Additional information about the OCDETF Program can be found at

Updated September 21, 2023