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Press Release

Muskegon Man Sentenced To 300 Months For Armed Trafficking In Fentanyl, Heroin, Cocaine, And Methamphetamine

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

          GRAND RAPIDS, MICHIGAN — U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Michigan Mark Totten announced that Saul Douglas Briggs, 33, of Muskegon, will serve 240 months in prison for possessing fentanyl, heroin, cocaine, and methamphetamine with the intent to distribute them. On Friday, U.S. District Judge Paul L. Maloney sentenced Briggs to serve an additional 60-month prison term for possessing firearms in furtherance of his drug trafficking activities. Briggs was also ordered to forfeit more than $225,000 in cash, multiple vehicles, and jewelry that he purchased with drug proceeds. Upon release from prison, Briggs will be on supervised release for a period of 10 years.             

          “The egregiousness of Mr. Briggs’ crimes cannot be overstated. He possessed enormous quantities of fentanyl to sell in our community and beyond,” said U.S. Attorney Totten. “Fentanyl is deadly, and it is made even more fatal when combined with other drugs and loaded firearms. My office is committed to disrupting drug trafficking rings and bringing the people who peddle this poison to justice. Mr. Briggs’ sentence is a vital step in ensuring the continued safety of the communities we serve.”

          The facts presented to the court during the case were that, beginning in at least March 2002, Briggs and his associates began using a house on Letart Avenue in Muskegon to store drugs, drug trafficking materials, and guns to protect their drug dealing business. In March 2022, Briggs and one of his associates sold a total of 1.5 kilograms of fentanyl to a Missouri-based drug trafficker. At least some of that fentanyl appeared to investigators to have come from the Letart residence. Later, during a search warrant executed at the Letart residence in June 2022, investigators found approximately 5 kilograms of fentanyl and fentanyl analogues, nearly a kilogram of heroin, and smaller amounts of cocaine, methamphetamine, and morphine. Investigators also found all of the hallmarks of drug trafficking, including digital scales, baggies, presses used to package drugs for sale, cutting agents, and a money counter. At the time, Briggs also possessed seven firearms, four of which were stolen. The guns included a loaded pistol he stored under the driver’s seat of his truck and several assault-style guns and a handgun with an extended magazine that had been staged throughout the Letart residence.

          The amount of fentanyl in the case could have killed millions of people across the State of Michigan and in the other locations where Briggs distributed. In sentencing Briggs, Judge Maloney noted that this was “a major fentanyl distribution crime” and that Briggs possessed seven firearms of which four were stolen. Judge Maloney also noted that Briggs committed these crimes after having previously served a sentence in federal prison for cocaine trafficking.

          “Briggs convictions come after a lengthy investigation involving both state and federal law enforcement,” said Detective Lieutenant Andrew Ambrose, Commander of the West Michigan Enforcement Team (WEMET), a division of the Michigan State Police. “Cooperation between federal, state, and local agencies allow for entities to work larger cases. The seizure of fentanyl by WEMET detectives and DEA agents undoubtedly saved lives.”

          The following photographs shows some of the evidence seized as part of the investigation:

Briggs Evidenced Seized - 01
Briggs Evidenced Seized - 02
Briggs Evidenced Seized - 03
Briggs Evidenced Seized - 04

          This case was part of Operation Interstate Zeus, an Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation that began in 2019 and was led by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and members of Michigan State Police’s West Michigan Enforcement Teams (WEMET). OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level drug traffickers, money launderers, gangs, and transnational criminal organizations that threaten the United States by using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach that leverages the strengths of federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies against criminal networks. Additional information about the OCDETF Program can be found at

          This case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Stephanie M. Carowan.


Updated July 18, 2023

Drug Trafficking
Firearms Offenses