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          GRAND RAPIDS, MICHIGAN — United States Attorney Andrew Birge announced today that following a three-day trial, a federal jury convicted Anthony Ozomaro, of Kalamazoo Michigan of possession with intent to distribute more than fifty grams of methamphetamine.

          On March 8, 2019, officers from the Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety (KDPS) responded to a call regarding a possible homicide at a home on Charles Avenue in Kalamazoo. When officers arrived at the residence, they found a woman, later identified as Nikkole Riojas, dead with an apparent gunshot wound to the head. After an initial investigation, detectives determined that the victim’s ex-boyfriend, Anthony Ozomaro, was a person of interest in the homicide. Detectives secured a warrant to search Ozomaro’s home. During their search of Ozomaro’s house, police located a large plastic bag containing approximately 250 grams of 91 percent pure crystal methamphetamine on a shelf in Ozomaro’s bedroom. Next to the methamphetamine, police also found Ozomaro’s U.S. passport, a digital scale with methamphetamine residue, and various rounds of live ammunition. A federal grand jury subsequently indicted Ozomaro for possession with intent to distribute more than fifty grams of methamphetamine.

          On October 22, 2020, Ozomaro’s trial successfully commenced, with U.S. District Court Judge Hala Y. Jarbou presiding over her first federal trial as a federal judge. Ozomaro elected to act as his own lawyer throughout the entire three-day trial.

          “We reserve federal charges for those who pose the most danger to our communities, and Ozomaro fits that bill,” said U.S. Attorney Andrew Birge. “Methamphetamine is a plague on our west Michigan communities, so we hold those who peddle it accountable.”

          Ozomaro now faces a mandatory minimum period of ten years up to life in prison. His sentencing is scheduled for March 21, 2021. The Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety and Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) investigated this case. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Erin Lane and Stephen Baker.

          Acting Executive Lt Michael Ferguson of the Kalamazoo Valley Enforcement Team said, “Methamphetamine is a dangerous drug that has impacted our community in many ways. The conviction of this large-scale meth-dealer will certainly have a positive impact on our community.”

          The Kalamazoo County Prosecuting Attorney’s office later charged Ozomaro with the murder of Nikkole Riojas. A preliminary hearing on the open murder charge is scheduled for early November in the Kalamazoo County District Court. He is presumed innocent of all murder charges unless and until proven guilty.

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