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Press Release

Bessemer, Michigan Crystal Meth Dealer Sentenced To Over 17 Years In Federal Prison

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

          MARQUETTE, MICHIGAN —Jeremy James Whitebird, age 34 and formerly a resident of Bessemer, MI, was sentenced to 212 months (17 years, 8 months) in federal prison as a result of Whitebird’s involvement in methamphetamine trafficking and unlawful gun possession in Gogebic County, Acting U.S. Attorney Andrew Birge announced today.

          In January 2017, officers assigned to the Gogebic Iron-Area Narcotics Team (GIANT) learned that Whitebird was selling significant amounts of crystal methamphetamine (meth) and other drugs in the Bessemer and Ironwood area. Acting on this information, undercover GIANT officers purchased ounces of crystal meth from Whitebird on three separate occasions and followed that with a search warrant at his residence. During the search, police found 424 grams (about 15 ounces) of crystal meth, 194 grams of cocaine, 27 grams of heroin and 3.5 pounds of marijuana. Whitebird, who has multiple prior felony convictions, was also in possession of several firearms. In addition, Whitebird, who is the father of six children and currently owes more than $25,000 in child support, had about $15,000 in cash in his possession.

          Following these discoveries, Sergeant Matthew J. Sterbenz, the head of GIANT, contacted the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) so that Whitebird would be prosecuted in federal court. After Whitebird’s sentencing, Sgt. Sterbenz thanked the officers of GIANT and the Gogebic Iron-Area SWAT Team, the Special Agents of the DEA and ATF, the U.S. Attorney’s Office and Beacon Ambulance Service (which provided standby emergency medical response during the execution of the search warrant) for their work on the investigation.

          On June 26, 2017, Whitebird pleaded guilty to one count of possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine and a count related to being a felon in possession of a firearm. U.S. District Judge Paul L. Maloney sentenced Whitebird to 212 months for the meth offense and ordered the 120-month sentence for the firearm offense to run concurrently. Whitebird will also serve 5 years on supervised release after he is released from prison.

          Acting U.S. Attorney Andrew Birge observed that the western part of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan is being hit particularly hard by a caustic mix of crystal methamphetamine, opioid addiction, and opioid-related overdoses. Birge vowed that the U.S. Attorney’s Office and its partners at DEA, ATF, and local narcotics teams will continue to aggressively investigate and prosecute armed drug traffickers like Whitebird.


Updated November 1, 2017