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Sentences handed down for methamphetmaines

HOUGHTON ­­– Eight people have received federal prison sentences for their roles in dealing crystal methamphetamine in the western Upper Peninsula.

* Keith Lee Raymond, 31, formerly of Ewen, was sentenced by Chief U.S. District

Judge Robert J. Jonker to concurrent seven-and-a-half year sentences for distribution of methamphetamine and being a felon in possession of a firearm. Raymond was also sentenced to three years of court supervision upon his release from prison and a $500 fine.

* Darian Frances Belongie, 30, formerly of Ewen, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Janet T. Neff to 10 years in prison for conspiracy to distribute more than 50 grams of methamphetamine. Belongie was also sentenced to serve a period of five years of court supervision upon her release from prison.

* Pedro Francisco Gonzalez, 37, formerly of L’Anse, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Janet T. Neff to 10 years – consecutive five-year sentences for distribution of more than 50 grams of methamphetamine and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime. Gonzalez was also sentenced to serve a period of five years of court supervision release upon his release from prison.

* Alan Michal Hollon, 29, formerly of L’Anse, was sentenced by Chief U.S. District Judge Robert J. Jonker to concurrent sentences of 15 years, eight months in prison for conspiracy to distribute more than 50 grams of methamphetamine and 10 years for being a felon in possession of a firearm. Hollon was also sentenced to serve a period of five years of court supervision upon his release from prison and a $2,000 fine.

* Anthony Richard Duran, 28, formerly of Santa Monica, California, was sentenced by Chief U.S. District Judge Robert J. Jonker to five years and eight months in prison for conspiracy to distribute more than 50 grams of methamphetamine. Duran was also sentenced to serve a period of four years of court supervision upon his release from prison and a $750 fine.

* Elizabeth Silvia Minnick, 24, formerly of Watersmeet, was sentenced by Chief U.S. District Judge Robert J. Jonker to six years in prison for conspiracy to distribute five grams or more of methamphetamine. Minnick was also sentenced to serve a period of four years of court supervision release upon her release from prison.

* Kathy Jo Harry, 41, formerly of Houghton, was sentenced by Chief U.S. District Judge Robert J. Jonker to two years and three months in prison for conspiracy to distribute five grams or more of methamphetamine. Harry was also sentenced to serve a period of three years of court supervision upon her release from prison.

* Justin Henry Hartzog, 26, formerly of Watersmeet, was sentenced by Chief U.S. District Judge Robert J. Jonker to five months in prison for conspiracy to distribute five grams or more of methamphetamine. Hartzog was also sentenced to serve a period of four years of court supervision upon his release from prison.

These sentences were the culmination of a long-term investigation by the Upper Peninsula Substance Enforcement Team (UPSET), the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) into methamphetamine distribution and illicit firearms possession onthe west end of the Upper Peninsula.

“The interdiction of crystal methamphetamine is a high priority for the Upper Peninsula Substance Enforcement Team (UPSET),” said D/Lt. Timothy Sholander, Michigan State Police – UPSET Commander. “Crystal methamphetamine has become a scourge to Upper Peninsula communities, including tribal communities, and we worked with our federal law enforcement partners to target the suppliers who were plaguing these communities with their drug trafficking. These sentences should serve as a stark reminder to those who poison our communities that neither the use of the dark web nor interstate travel to procure drugs will provide a safe haven to them.”

“ATF is committed to reducing violent crime throughout the State of Michigan working in conjunction with our state, local, tribal and federal partners,” said ATF Special Agent in Charge James Deir. “Gonzalez, Hollon, and Raymond were peddling poison throughout the Upper Peninsula as well as illegally possessing firearms without any regard to the lives they ruined along the way. The citizens in these communities can sleep a little better knowing that these individuals are being held accountable for their actions and will no longer be available to sell drugs to anyone for some time to come.”

“HSI specializes in investigating transnational criminal organizations that operate across the U.S. and around the globe,” said Vance Callender, HSI special agent in charge for Michigan and Ohio.

“These individuals conspired with multiple criminal organizations from Mexico to California and then to the Upper Peninsula to profit from the suffering of those in their community. HSI and its law enforcement partners are proud to have dismantled this illicit network.”

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Hannah Bobee, Paul D. Lochner, and Ted Greeley prosecuted these cases, along with then Assistant U.S. Attorney Maarten Vermaat.

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