GRAND RAPIDS, MICHIGAN — U.S. Attorney Patrick Miles announced that four men have been indicted by a federal grand jury in Grand Rapids in connection with the seizure of approximately 23 pounds of crystal methamphetamine in Van Buren County on August 13, 2012. The four persons charged are: Jose Sierra-Villegas, age 38, from Kansas City, MO; Alejandro Garcia, age 44, from Grand Junction, MI; Thomas Streich, age 59, from Lawton, MI; Brent Kellerman, age 24, from Harrisonville, MO.
All four defendants are charged with conspiring to possess with intent to distribute and distribute 500 or more grams of methamphetamine, and with possessing with intent to distribute that amount of methamphetamine. The maximum penalty for each of those offenses is not less than ten years up to life in prison, at least five years’ supervised release, up to a $10 million fine, and a $100 special assessment. Garcia and Streich are also charged with separate counts of distribution of 50 grams or more of methamphetamine, which is punishable by not less than five years up to forty years in prison, at least four years’ supervised release, up to a $5 million fine, and a $100 special assessment.
The defendants were initially charged in a criminal complaint which alleged that, following several undercover purchases of crystal methamphetamine, undercover officers had made arrangements with Alejandro Garcia and Jose Sierra-Villegas to purchase 20 pounds of crystal methamphetamine at a cost of $23,000 per pound. On August 13, 2012, approximately 18 pounds of methamphetamine were found inside a hidden compartment in a vehicle driven by Brent Kellerman in Van Buren County. A search of Thomas Streich’s residence in Van Buren County uncovered approximately five more pounds of methamphetamine and numerous firearms. At a cost of $23,000 per pound, the seized methamphetamine had a wholesale value of over $500,000.
U.S. Attorney Miles said that this is believed to be the largest seizure of crystal methamphetamine in West Michigan, if not the entire state of Michigan. He said his office aggressively prosecutes individuals found to possess large quantities of crystal methamphetamine or other controlled substances in West Michigan. The investigation is being conducted by the Department of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the Metropolitan Enforcement Team (MET), with assistance from other agencies.
The charges in an indictment are merely accusations, and a defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty in a court of law. All of the defendants have pled not guilty to the charges in the indictment.