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Nine people convicted for involvement in crystal methamphetamine distribution conspiracy

Approximately 11 pounds of crystal methamphetamine, a stolen, loaded firearm, and over $20,000 in drug proceeds were recovered by law enforcement during the execution of federal search warrants in Kalamazoo on June 25, 2020.

Final Three Defendants Convicted at Trial

GRAND RAPIDS, MICHIGAN —United States Attorney Andrew Birge announced today that on June 10, 2021, a federal jury returned guilty verdicts against three defendants following a four-day trial in Grand Rapids: Timothy Mark Calicutt, a resident of Kalamazoo, Dwayne Deshaun Parks, a resident of Kalamazoo, and Ronald Lee Sutherland, a resident of Allegan. Calicutt, Parks and Sutherland are among nine total defendants convicted for their respective roles in a crystal methamphetamine trafficking conspiracy that involved hundreds of pounds of methamphetamine distributed throughout Allegan, Barry, Calhoun, Kalamazoo, Kent, and Muskegon counties from late 2019 through June 2020.

Parks was a regional supplier of hundreds of pounds of crystal methamphetamine to Calicutt, who used his drug house in Kalamazoo to cut the methamphetamine and further distribute it to other individuals. Parks also distributed pounds of methamphetamine to Sutherland, who re-distributed it to buyers in Allegan. Over the course of the investigation, each defendant was also caught possessing significant quantities of methamphetamine for distribution. The jury also convicted Calicutt for maintaining a drug house and for being a previously-convicted felon in possession of a firearm.

In announcing the convictions, U.S. Attorney Birge stated, “These convictions are the result of a multi-agency investigation into the distribution of large amounts of crystal methamphetamine throughout West Michigan. Crystal methamphetamine is a dangerous and highly-addictive drug that has done great damage to our local communities. The U.S. Attorney’s Office is committed to bringing traffickers of this drug to justice, which is made possible through the hard work of state and local police officers, and federal agents who were involved in this case.”

“These convictions are the culmination of a long-term investigation, and highlights the impact of multiple agencies joining together to target a drug trafficking organization responsible for trafficking a significant amount of methamphetamine into Michigan,” said Keith W. Martin, Special Agent in Charge, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Detroit Field Division. “DEA will continue to join forces with our federal, state, and local law enforcement partners to target and remove criminals who push poisons and prey on our communities.”

DEA began the investigation into this drug-trafficking conspiracy in 2019, in partnership with the Southwest Enforcement Team (SWET) and West Michigan Enforcement Team (WEMET) of the Michigan State Police (MSP), and the Kalamazoo Valley Enforcement Team.

“Drug trafficking organizations pose a serious threat to Southwest Michigan communities,” said Detective First Lieutenant Richard Pazder of the Michigan State Police, Southwest Enforcement Team (SWET). “These criminal groups traffic large quantities of low-cost, high-potency levels of crystal methamphetamine to our citizens and seek to spread their criminal enterprise throughout Michigan. SWET is proud to work synergistically with our law enforcement partners in DEA, WEMET, and KVET to dismantle a large-scale drug trafficking organization responsible for pouring hundreds of pounds of crystal methamphetamine into our West Michigan communities through a web of suppliers, distributors, and local drug pushers. Further, SWET would like to express appreciation for the federal prosecutors whose expertise and dedication to justice brought this complex investigation to a successful conclusion.”

Executive Lieutenant Matthew Schemenauer of the Kalamazoo Valley Enforcement Team (KVET) stated: “We are pleased to learn about these convictions. Thanks to a joint effort between local, state, and federal partners, the organizers of this operation that supplied our region with methamphetamine are off the streets. This is a win for all of West Michigan.”

Over the course of the investigation, law enforcement seized over 18 pounds of crystal methamphetamine (including 2 pounds of crystal methamphetamine from Sutherland on June 22, 2020 and 11 pounds of crystal methamphetamine from Calicutt and Parks on June 25, 2020), two firearms, and over $27,000 in drug proceeds.

This prosecution, dubbed Operation Rabbit Hole, was part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) investigation. 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 https://www.justice.gov/OCDETF.

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