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Press Release

Final Defendant Sentenced In Upper Peninsula-Based Conspiracy To Distribute And Possess With Intent To Distribute Methamphetamine

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

          MARQUETTE – U.S. Attorney Mark Totten for the Western District of Michigan today announced that Chief U.S. District Judge Hala Y. Jarbou sentenced Elizabeth Jean Decota, also known as “Biz,” to 51 months in prison. She was the tenth and final defendant to plead guilty and be sentenced in United States v. Smith, et al., No. 2:22-cr-01. Chief Judge Jarbou imposed the sentence after commenting that the conspiracy had a “significant impact on the community,” bringing in a “significant quantity of methamphetamine to an area” already so heavily impacted by drug abuse.  

          “Illegal drugs are a danger to our loved ones and have no place in our communities," said. U.S. Attorney Mark Totten. “The United States Attorney’s Office is working closely with our federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement partners to disrupt drug trafficking rings in Indian Country and across the state to help rid our streets of meth, heroin, fentanyl, and other potentially lethal poisons.”

          Between March and December 2021, the conspirators brought significant quantities of methamphetamine, heroin, and fentanyl from Detroit and distributed those drugs throughout the western half of the Upper Peninsula.  The conspirators based their operations on the Hannahville Indian Community and the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community, distributing significant quantities of methamphetamine to those communities.

          “Drug-related activity in the L’Anse Indian and Hannahville Reservations contribute to violent crime and imposes serious health and economic difficulties to Tribal communities. These sentences help send a message that drug use and trafficking has no place on the Reservations,” said Jerin Falcon, Deputy Associate Director, Bureau of Indian Affairs, Office of Justice Services, Division of Drug Enforcement.

          “The cooperation between local, state, tribal, and federal law enforcement has once again proven effective,” said Drug Enforcement Administration Detroit Field Division Special Agent in Charge Orville O. Greene.  “This indictment should put drug traffickers on notice that we will use whatever resources necessary to remove them, and the poisons they peddle, from our communities.”

          The defendants and their respective prison sentences are as follows:



Tyler Allen Smith, also known as “Ty Ty,” a/k/a “Ty”

158 months

Jason Earl Arnold

120 months

Jill Elizabeth Roberts

136 months

John Paul Decota, Jr., also known as “Bub”

64 months

Elizabeth Jean Decota, also known as “Biz”

51 months

Clifford Keith Durant, Jr.

90 months

Shanna Marie Decota

52 months

Peggy Sue Swartz

46 months

Allyson Marie Denomie

41 months

Alexander Brandon Sagataw

46 months

          After serving their terms of imprisonment, the defendants will be on supervised release for several years. 

          The Bureau of Indian Affairs; the Drug Enforcement Administration; Upper Peninsula Substance Enforcement Team; Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives; FBI – Safe Trails Task Force; Michigan State Police; Delta County Sheriff’s Office; Hannahville Tribal Police Department; Keweenaw Bay Indian Community Tribal Police; and Troy Police Department investigated the case. 


Updated April 12, 2023

Drug Trafficking