Cocaine traffickers in Muskegon/ Oceana receive lengthy sentences

Acting U.S. Attorney Andrew Birge announced today that U.S. District Judge Janet T. Neff sentenced Jaime Valente Pina, Jr. of Alamo, Texas to 87 months in prison for participating in a cocaine distribution conspiracy that operated in and around Muskegon and Oceana counties from the summer of 2015 until August 2016. In addition to his prison term, the Court sentenced him to three years of supervised release. Pina was convicted on May 10, 2017, after a three day jury trial.

The conspiracy began in the summer of 2015 when Magdaleno Rodriguez, a cocaine dealer operating in and around Oceana County, was introduced to Jaime Valente Pina, Jr. as a new source of supply for cocaine. Thereafter, Jaime Pina and his brother, Angel Pina, supplied cocaine to Rodriguez on a monthly basis for further redistribution throughout West Michigan.

The Pina brothers are from the Rio Grande Valley – the southernmost tip of Texas – which shares an extensive stretch of border with Mexico. Throughout the conspiracy, they brought cocaine to Rodriguez from their Texas-based source of supply. The conspiracy ended in approximately August 2016 after officers of the State, Sheriffs, Chiefs, Enforcement Narcotics Team (SSCENT) concluded undercover buys from Rodriguez and executed a search warrant at his home. Officers of the West Michigan Enforcement Team (WEMET) apprehended the Pina brothers while executing a warrant at a drug house in Ravenna, Michigan in November 2016.

Magdaleno Rodriguez and Angel Pina pled guilty prior to trial. Rodriguez and Angel Pina were sentenced in U.S. District Court on July 11, 2017. The Court sentenced Rodriguez to 98 months incarceration and four years of supervised release. Angel Pina received 109 months’ incarceration and three years of supervised release.

Acting U.S. Attorney Birge stated: “The interstate trafficking of controlled substances into the Western District of Michigan remains a key prosecution priority for my office. Controlled substances poison our communities and they impair and often destroy the potential of those who use them. Individuals involved with importing these toxic substances into the Western District of Michigan will be brought to justice.”

“The sentencing of this final defendant brings full resolution to this investigation and chokes off a drug tracking organization responsible for distributing cocaine in our communities,” said Steve Francis, HSI Detroit special agent in charge. “HSI will continue to use its vast resources to combat the spread of illegal drugs.”

“This is yet another great example of the cooperative law enforcement efforts that occur daily in west Michigan. The agencies involved in this case worked diligently to ensure justice was served,” stated Detective/First Lieutenant Andy Fias, the Section Commander of WEMET and SSCENT.

Homeland Security Investigations, an investigative arm of the Department of Homeland Security, led with assistance of SSCENT and WEMET. The two agencies are state-managed multijurisdictional drug task forces. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Joel S. Fauson and Timothy P. VerHey prosecuted this case.

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