GRAND RAPIDS, MICHIGAN – United States Attorney Andrew Birge announced today that all 27 defendants have been convicted and sentenced to terms of imprisonment for their involvement in a wide-ranging cocaine-trafficking conspiracy led by Howard Mayfield, of Grand Rapids. On October 16, 2020, Mayfield’s sister Tamara Nelson, also known as Tamara Mingo, was the last defendant to be sentenced; U.S. District Judge Paul L. Maloney sentenced Nelson to 139 months in federal prison.
Mayfield’s drug-trafficking organization distributed kilograms of cocaine in and around Grand Rapids between April 2017 and May 2018. Mayfield pleaded guilty to the cocainetrafficking conspiracy and was sentenced to 360 months in prison. From early 2017 until April 2018, Mayfield worked with Texas-based cocaine distributor, Wilbert Gentry, to bring over 100 kilograms of cocaine into the Grand Rapids area. In April and May 2018, Mayfield began getting
kilogram-quantities of cocaine from Muskegon- and Detroit-based supplier Craig Schenvinsky James, as well as Quincy Delon Lofton, of Detroit.
Mayfield then distributed the cocaine, in either powder form or as crack cocaine, to coconspirators in and around Grand Rapids, including Tamara Nelson, Ryan Rashad Brown, Yvette Sheree Brown, Donald Bernard Gardner, Martin Luther Dukes, Douglas Emmanuel Carey III, Nicole Lynn Starr, Carlus Bridgeforth, Martinellus Nix, Demarcus Pinder, Trebarius McGee, Pedro Antonio Mateo, Marvin Nix, Stephawn, McFadden, Troy Jordai Lewis, Jeffrey Allan Dean,
and Jessica Warren (also known as Jessica Gatica). These co-conspirators, in turn, sold the cocaine and crack cocaine to their customers.
Additional defendants, including Jennifer Tadeo, Elsie Bridget Boston, Monica Laster, Shamekia Liptrot, Taniedra Sade White, and Salena Kolarich, were convicted for their respective roles in the conspiracy, such as helping to transport or store the cocaine and/or drug proceeds.
In announcing the convictions and sentences, U.S. Attorney Birge stated, “Cocaine and cocaine base are powerful drugs that continue to wreak havoc on individual users, their families, and their communities. Cocaine overdose death rates have risen significantly in recent years, particularly in the Midwest, and about 1 in 5 overdose deaths involve cocaine. Along with our law enforcement partners, we take cocaine offenses seriously and are invested in disrupting the
channels drug-traffickers use to distribute illegal and dangerous drugs in the Western District of Michigan.”
DEA Detroit Division Special Agent in Charge, Keith W. Martin, commented, “The sentencing of the 27 members of this drug trafficking organization is a direct result of the collaboration between DEA and many state, local and federal partners. This is a tremendous victory for the law-abiding citizens of west-Michigan, effectively dismantling a major cocaine trafficking operation responsible for peddling poisons and eroding communities.”
The Metropolitan Enforcement Team (MET) of the Michigan State Police began the investigation into Mayfield’s drug-trafficking organization in early 2017, in partnership with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). The Kentwood Police Department provided key support throughout the case, including by using one of its detectives in an undercover capacity to purchase cocaine and heroin directly from Mayfield. Numerous other law enforcement agencies
assisted with operations during the two-month period the DEA had a wiretap on Howard Mayfield’s phones, including the Arkansas State Police, and the Vice Unit of the Grand Rapids Police Department.
“This case is an excellent example of the fantastic results that can be achieved when Federal, State, and Local law enforcement pool their resources and personnel to tackle the narcotics problems facing West Michigan. In this case a large Drug Trafficking Organization was effectively dismantled due to these cooperative efforts. The Metropolitan Enforcement Team welcomes any opportunity to leverage resources in the effort to combat dangerous drug dealers adversely affecting our communities,” said D/Lt Nathan Grant, commander of MET.
Kentwood Police Chief Richard Roberts likewise is pleased with the collaborative efforts of all of the agencies involved in this case. “Illegal drug use is not only an issue for us in Kentwood, but for all communities across the country. Being a part of this joint effort to combat this problem has been very rewarding. The success of this case also speaks to the professionalism and ability of the men and women of the Kentwood Police Department,” said Chief Roberts.
The 27 defendants, their crimes of convictions, and sentence information are as follows:
|Howard Anthony Mayfield||Grand Rapids||Conspiracy to Distribute and Possess with Intent to Distribute (“PWID”) Cocaine (5kilograms or more) and Crack Cocaine||360 months in prison|
|Wilbert Gentry||Houston, TX||Conspiracy to Distribute and PWID Cocaine (5 kilograms or more) and Crack Cocaine||150 months in prison|
|Craig Schenvinsky James||Muskegon||Conspiracy to Distribute and PWID Cocaine (5 kilograms or more) and Crack Cocaine||108 months in prison|
|Quincy Delon Lofton||Detroit||Conspiracy to Distribute and PWID Cocaine (5 kilograms or more) and Crack Cocaine||78 months in prison|
|Ryan Rashad Brown||Wyoming||Conspiracy to Distribute and PWID (500 grams or more) and Crack Cocaine; PWID Cocaine (500 grams or more); PWID Cocaine||204 months in prison|
|Yvette Sheree Brown||Grand Rapids||Conspiracy to Distribute PWID Cocaine (500 grams or more) and Crack Cocaine||120 months in prison|
|Jennifer Tadeo||Grand Rapids||Conspiracy to Distribute PWID Cocaine (5 kilograms or more) and Crack Cocaine||84 months in prison|
|Donald Bernard Gardner||Grand Rapids||Conspiracy to Distribute and PWID Cocaine and Crack Cocaine (28 grams or more)||168 months in prison|
|Tamara Nelson, née Tamara Mingo||Grand Rapids||Conspiracy to Distribute and PWID Cocaine and Crack Cocaine||139 Months in prison|
|Elsie Bridget Boston||Houston, TX||Conspiracy to Distribute and PWID Cocaine (5 kilograms or more) and Crack Cocaine||110 months in prison|
|Martin Luther Dukes||Grand Rapids||Conspiracy to Distribute and PWID Cocaine and Crack Cocaine||63 months in prison|
|Douglas Emmanuel Carey III||Grand Rapids||Conspiracy to Distribute and PWID Cocaine and Crack Cocaine; PWID Cocaine (2 counts)||150 months in prison|
|Monica Laster||Grand Rapids||Unlawful use of Communication Facility to Facilitate Drug Felony||24 months in prison|
|Nicole Lynn Starr||St. Johns, MI||Conspiracy to Distribute and PWID Cocaine and Crack Cocaine||57 months in prison|
|Shamekia Liptrot||Grand Rapids||Unlawful use of Communication Facility to Facilitate Drug Felony||30 months in prison|
|Carlus Bridgeforth||Grand Rapids||Conspiracy to Distribute and PWID Cocaine (500 grams or more) and Crack Cocaine||46 months in prison|
|Martinellus Nix||Grand Rapids||PWID Cocaine||120 months in prison|
|Demarcus Pinder||Grand Rapids||Conspiracy to Distribute and PWID Cocaine and Crack Cocaine (28 grams or more)||144 months in prison|
|Trebarius McGee||Grand Rapids||Conspiracy to Distribute and PWID Cocaine||96 months in prison|
|Pedro Antonio Mateo||Grand Rapids||PWID Cocaine||54 months in prison|
|Marvin Quantez Nix||Grand Rapids||Conspiracy to Distribute and PWID Cocaine and Crack Cocaine; PWID Cocaine||96 months in prison|
|Stephawn McFadden||Grand Rapids||PWID Cocaine||54 months in prison|
|Troy Jordai Lewis||Grand Rapids||PWID Cocaine||18 months in prison|
|Jeffrey Allan Dean||Grand Rapids||PWID Cocaine||13 months in prison|
|Jessica Warren née Gatica||Grand Rapids||PWID Cocaine||42 months in prison|
|Taniedra Sade White||Houston, TX||Conspiracy to Distribute and PWID Cocaine and Crack Cocaine||33 months in prison|
|Salena Kolarich, also
known as Salena Sparr
|Columbus, OH||Conspiracy to Distribute and PWID Cocaine and Crack Cocaine; Unlawful use of Communication Facility to Facilitate Drug Felony; Interstate Transport of Drug Proceeds||60 months in prison|
This case was investigated by the DEA, the Michigan State Police, Metropolitan Enforcement Team, the Kentwood Police Department, and the Grand Rapids Police Department. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Kate Zell and Dan McGraw.