Alleged International Drug Ring Run by Inmates at U.P. Prison

Original Case Details

An international drug ring is alleged to have been operated out of the Alger Correctional Facility in Munising, which is almost 50 miles east of Marquette. The Alger Correctional Facility is a 900-inmate capacity state prison operated by the Michigan Department of Corrections. The drug ring is alleged to be distributing crystal meth, heroin, and cocaine that is being supplied by deported ex-cons just south of the border in Mexico. Michigan corrections officers searched the Alger Correctional Facility in May and uncovered a “virtual drugstore” inside the cell of an inmate. The investigation focused on Dontay McMann, who agents believe is a dealer along with another inmate, Juan Meija. Agents say the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) found a hidden piece of evidence in McMann’s cell along with information gained from a secret wiretap. Investigators raided McMann’s prison cell and found more than 50 grams of methamphetamine, 120 tabs of LSD, 80 strips of Suboxone, a scale, and a knife. An electronic typewriter was also found, in which there were three phone storage devices and a cell phone. Currently, nobody has been formally charged with anything. Those alleged to be a part of this drug ring are facing a variety of potential federal drug trafficking charges, as well as conspiracy charges.

What’s Next?

It appears that investigators from the FBI and DEA are coming close to announcing charges on at least some of the people alleged to be involved in this drug ring. If and when that happens then all defendants would be then formally indicted by a judge. When someone is indicted with a federal crime, they are brought before a judge where they are informed of the charges against them, and a bond is set, typically with a variety of conditions. Many times, a defendant’s passport is seized by the court to prevent them from attempting to flee the country. Once bond is set, then the defendant has the right to a preliminary hearing where the government will have to prove that there is probable cause that a crime was committed and that this specific defendant committed it. The preliminary hearing appears like a trial, but there is no jury, just the judge. The prosecutor will call witnesses and admit limited evidence in order to meet their probable cause burden. The judge’s role is to determine if there is in fact probable cause for this case to continue towards an actual trial. If the judge feels that there is not probable cause that a crime was committed and that this specific defendant committed it, then he or she can dismiss the case entirely. If the case continues forward, then the defendant will usually be given the opportunity to work out some sort of plea deal, or not. Defense attorneys may find holes in the case and its investigation, and challenge evidence in court in the form of pre-trial motions. Each case is unique in that those alleged to have committed the crimes have various roles and various levels of history with the criminal justice system. All of these things are taken into account when possible plea deals are made. Often, the government will look to turn co-defendants against each other by offering deals to cooperate and testify against one another. If a deal cannot be made, then the defendant(s) would then end up facing a jury trial.

Any Further Questions?

If you or a loved one has been charged with a crime or being investigated for one, then it is important to speak to an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately. At Grabel & Associates, our attorneys have over 100 years of combined experience in successfully defending criminal cases all over the state of Michigan. This experience extends not only to adult cases, but also to juvenile charges. We are not a general practice firm. We are a team of criminal defense attorneys; it’s all we do. We offer a FREE consultation to anyone with questions relating to a possible or existing criminal charge against them or a loved one. Feel free to contact us on our 24/7 defense line at 1-800-342-7896. You can also contact us online or come visit us at one of our three statewide locations. We can also come to you.

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