Court Sentences Final Of Nine-Defendant Kalamazoo Heroin Investigation To 15 Years' Imprisonment
GRAND RAPIDS, MICHIGAN — Today, U.S. District Court Judge Gordon J. Quist sentenced defendant Quintin Howell, of Kalamazoo, Michigan, to 15 years’ imprisonment, concluding a multi-defendant joint investigation conducted by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Kalamazoo Valley Enforcement Team (KVET), Michigan State Police’s Southwestern Enforcement Team (SWET), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and Berrien County Sheriff’s Department. Howell conceded that his conduct involved over 100 grams of heroin and the use of a Hi-Point, ACP Model 4595 assault rifle, with an obliterated serial number, in furtherance of his drug trafficking efforts. Additionally, the Court found that Howell was a manager in the heroin trafficking conspiracy, recruiting and directing others to further the distribution of the drug. The conspiracy Howell pleaded guilty to joining took place from 2013 through August of 2015.
Heroin distribution has been a scourge in our country and in Michigan. The Center for Disease Control reports that there were 47,055 drug overdose deaths in the United States in 2014, and that 61% involved the use of opioids, which includes heroin and the prescription narcotics that have caused an explosion of heroin use in recent years. Specifically, in Michigan, the CDC reports that 1,762 people died of drug overdoses in 2014, which is 18 people for every 100,000 of our population, a 13.2% increase over the previous year. In 2015, it rose again to 1,980 drug overdose deaths—one of the highest drug overdose death rates in the nation – 20.4 per 100,000 people See, http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm6450a3.htm#tab. In 2014, the Michigan Department of Community Health reported that drug overdose deaths have tripled in Michigan between 1999 and 2012. In 2015, over 33,000 Americans died of opioid overdoses.
Howell’s sentence was the final term handed down by the Court for nine total defendants charged as a result of the Kalamazoo based investigation. The investigation involved two courtordered wiretaps and 11 months of investigation by the law enforcement agencies involved.
In addition to Howell, the federal court sentenced the following individuals to the following terms of imprisonment in three related cases:
Case no. 15-cr-118
Timothy Bloodworth, 151 months
Case no. 15-cr-119
Dion Branch, 96 months
Tyshaun Robinson, 60 months
Charles Campbell, 46 months
Case no. 15-cr-120
Quintin Howell, 180 months
Kyle Lewis, 36 months
Maurice Streeter, 24 months
Justin Jenkins, 180 months
Henry Hall, 42 months
“The successful outcome to this investigation should be credited to an extraordinary coordinated law enforcement effort to use as many investigative tools at our disposal as possible to dismantle organized drug trafficking in West Michigan,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Andrew Birge. “Heroin remains a plague upon our society. My office will continue to direct investigations that root out and hold accountable those who would profit from spreading this poison in our communities. However, we will not end this epidemic through prosecution alone. My office has been and will continue to meet with education and health care professionals and those who may be able to make a difference to raise awareness of the danger of opioids and to discuss what they can do to save others from the awful consequences of spiraling addiction.
Please contact us if you are interested in learning more.”
Pictured in the attached photographs are four loaded firearms, and more than 100 grams of heroin seized by law enforcement in the course of the investigation.