Articles Posted in Drug Possession

Recently a Lansing man was sentenced to five years, 10 months in prison for allegedly transporting cocaine from Texas to Michigan. Carlos Ramirez-Zuniga was reportedly involved in a drug ring, much to the surprise of friends and family members. iStock_000040898380_Full-2-300x200

News reports indicate that friends and family were in disbelief after learning of the crime Ramirez-Zuniga had allegedly committed. According to the government, he was involved in a drug ring that began in 2001 in Michigan, one that “Hector,” a man whose real name was Merced Alvarado, began.

Ramirez-Zuniga’s defense lawyer stated in a sentencing memorandum that his client was concerned about his children viewing him in an unflattering light, something other than the loving, providing father he was known to be. His attorney went on to say that he is “very remorseful” for the mistakes he has made. Additionally, numerous letters were provided to the court supporting the fact that Ramirez-Zuniga was a highly regarded member of the community who was considered to be of ‘good character’ by those who knew him.

Earlier in July, Kalamazoo Valley Enforcement Team (KVET) investigators learned that a man was transporting crystal meth into Kalamazoo County. This led to the arrest on July 23rd of 36-year-old Buddy Parker of Fairfield, Ohio, who according to reports was trafficking the drug in from California.

Copyright David Hardman
In the course of the investigation members of the KVET team learned that Parker intended to bring in about five pounds of the crystal meth from California, an amount with a street value of more than $300,000. Parker was arrested before delivery of the drugs occurred, and was reportedly in possession of three handguns, one of which was loaded, and a substantial amount of cash. Reports also claim more meth, money, and guns were discovered when officials searched Parker’s Ohio home.

KVET, along with the Butler County Sheriff’s Office Undercover Regional Narcotics Taskforce investigated the case. The handguns and money said to be in Parker’s possession were found in his vehicle when a search was conducted by authorities.

Over the past two or three years heroin has made a strong comeback in West Michigan, resulting in not heroinonly countless deaths due to overdose, but a substantial rise in criminal charges. HIDTA, or high intensity drug trafficking areas, include Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo, and Detroit, among others. Not too many years ago, Flint became a city that ranked continuously as one of the most dangerous cities in the U.S. for several reasons, one being a sharp increase in heroin use. How does the increase of heroin addiction relate to the increase in crime in the state?

In regions where heroin addiction is high (particularly HIDTA regions), violent and property crimes are quite common. Heroin addicts often know no boundaries when it comes to getting their “fix,” and those who distribute or traffic heroin will go to almost any lengths to protect their distribution operations. Some of the most common criminal offenses committed by addicts who seek the funds to support their addictions include burglary, robbery, retail fraud, and other theft crimes.

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On Thursday, April 14, a 30-year-old Jacksonville, NC man was stopped by the Onslow County Sheriff’s Office Crime Reduction Team. Although news reports do not reveal why Andrew James Sanderford was stopped by officers, he now faces felony drug charges. iStock_000013484355_XXXLarge-270x300

According to news reports, the officers discovered heroin inside Sanderford’s vehicle along with drug paraphernalia. He also allegedly has outstanding warrants. Sanderford is now charged with a single count of possession of drug paraphernalia, and one count of possession with intent to manufacture, deliver, or sell heroin, a felony charge. At last news reports he was in the Onslow County Jail under a $30,000 bond.

The media reports contain very few details, so we can only speculate as to why Sanderford was charged with possession with intent to distribute/deliver heroin. Police generally submit a charging request to the prosecutor, who then decides whether an individual will be charged with a crime, and what the charge will be. In cases involving illegal substances such as heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine, marijuana, or other drugs, police and prosecutors often make their decision regarding whether someone should be charged with simple possession or possession with intent based on the amount of drug in that person’s possession.

On Monday, April 4 the CATT (Crime Area Target Team) squad of the Flint Police Department received an anonymous tip regarding possible drug activity at a residence on the city’s south side. iStock_000002709890_Large-2-300x200

According to information released by the department, police knocked on the door of the residence upon arriving at the scene and found illegal narcotics which included heroin, marijuana, and crack-cocaine. Officers also discovered four firearms, one of which was stolen, and cash at the home. Police confiscated what they described as “large amounts” of drugs along with the firearms and money.

News reports from April 14 state charges against the four individuals, who were not named, are pending review by the Genesee County Prosecutor’s Office.

Following an 8-month-long investigation by a DEA task force which netted $2.4 million in cash and 31 kilos of cocaine in the Baltimore area, four men are now facing federal drug charges. According to news reports at CBS in Baltimore, the major drug trafficking ring has ties to a Mexican drug organization. DEA Special Agent Karl Colder said following the massive drug bust that the task force has “just disrupted a major cell here in the area.” iStock_000022833496XSmall

Authorities say the men were disguising the drug deal organization as KMKJ Trucking, and transporting large amounts of drugs into Maryland from Mexico. DEA agents received a tip about the company, and on Friday discovered nearly 60 lbs. of cocaine inside a vehicle leaving unit L at the alleged trucking company’s warehouse. Two days earlier, the men reportedly unloaded a tractor trailer at that same warehouse.

Investigators also served a search warrant at one of the men’s homes, and discovered duffel bags in the basement containing more than $2 million dollars in cash that was vacuum-sealed, along with a ledger detailing the drug transactions. Those arrested in the drug trafficking scheme include 64-year-old Hector Hernandez-Villapando, two of his sons, and William Cornish, who news reports refer to as an accomplice. All of the men now face life in prison if convicted.

On Sunday, April 3, a 19-year-old Cincinnati man was arrested on drug charges after he drew the attention of Madison County Sheriff’s Dept. deputies by stopping suddenly on Interstate 75. iStock_000013484355_XXXLarge-270x300

According to news reports, Christian Michael Spaulding was traveling in a southbound direction on the interstate when he went off the roadway after crossing all lanes of traffic. Upon exiting his vehicle, it continued moving forward. When deputies arrived at the scene, they noticed Spaulding’s speech was slurred, and that he was having problems maintaining his balance. Deputies asked Spaulding what was going on, to which he replied he had a flat tire. The citation claims that when asked if deputies could search his vehicle, Spaulding refused.

A canine unit was deployed by deputies, which resulted in the dog alerting to the presence of drugs in the vehicle. Upon searching, officers discovered a baggie containing four Xanax pills, six empty baggies, and several baggies of marijuana packaged for delivery.

On Saturday, March 26,a 25-year-old Odessa, NE woman was arrested after a police K-9 unit detected methamphetamine in the vehicle she was driving. Ashley Foged was stopped by Beatrice police after she failed to signal while making two right turns. iStock_000018174837_Full-2-300x200

According to court documents, an officer observed Foged’s vehicle as she turned right onto Market Street, then turned right onto 12th Street. Both times, the officer claims she failed to signal. Upon being pulled over, Foged identified herself but could not produce a driver’s license as it had been suspended earlier this month for failure to comply.

Police searched the vehicle after the K-9 unit was dispatched to circle Foged’s Mitsubishi SUV and alerted to the presence of drugs near the driver’s side door. Officers discovered a white substance on a digital scale that was determined to be methamphetamine, along with a marijuana pipe containing residue.

On Saturday, March 19 two people were arrested after police were called to investigate a domestic dispute in the 300 block of Braddock Road in Smyrna, DE. The arrests were in connection with a large amount of marijuana and drug paraphernalia found at the scene, according to news reports. iStock_000013484355_XXXLarge-270x300

Cpl. Brian Donner said in a statement that police were called to the residence for a reported domestic disturbance at about 10:45 Saturday morning. The disturbance was apparently between 51-year-old Emory Monroe, and 38-year-old Genevia Wiltbank. In the course of investigating Monroe, police found he had approximately 50 grams of marijuana in his possession.

Other officers responding to the scene contacted Wiltbank, and upon further investigation the officers found reason to get a search and seizure warrant. With the help of the department’s K9 team, 200 additional grams of marijuana were discovered along with digital scales and other drug paraphernalia.

Recently, 51-year-old Charles “Bennie” Benfer IV was arrested after authorities raided his Marietta, PA home and discovered 111 grams of methamphetamine during the raid, according to news reports. Now, officials believe they have severed a “major artery” of the supply of meth to Lancaster County as they say Benfer had ties to a Mexican cartel. 13673792_s-300x200

Authorities claim Benfer had a source in Mesa, AZ who was supplying him with 4 ounces of methamphetamine every week, a source with connections to a Mexican cartel. Spokesman for the Lancaster County DA’s office Brett Hambright commented that 4 ounces is “no small amount,” and that Benfer was “absolutely a major meth supplier in Lancaster County.”

During the raid of Benfer’s home police also discovered paraphernalia used for packaging and selling drugs, along with 86 grams of marijuana. He also had storage sheds in Conoy Township where authorities found additional drug paraphernalia along with oxycodone pills.