News Release
September 18, 2007

Crack Cocaine Dealer Sentenced to
35 Years for Drug Dealing in School Zone

SEP 18 -- GRAND RAPIDS, Michigan  Terry Bernard Michael, age 29, of Grand Rapids, Michigan, was sentenced today to thirty years (360 months) in prison for distributing cocaine base (“crack” cocaine) within a school zone, and an additional five years’ imprisonment for possessing a firearm in furtherance of that drug trafficking, resulting in a 35-year total sentence, U.S. Attorney Charles R. Gross announced today. Michael’s sentencing followed his conviction on seven counts of drug-trafficking and weapons charges. Following his release from prison, Michael must serve twelve years of supervised release.

On June 5, 2007, a jury convicted Michael of four counts of drug dealing, including charges relating to his distribution of crack cocaine within 1,000 feet of Catholic Central High School. The jury also convicted Michael of three counts of firearms violations, including a charge that he possessed a firearm in furtherance of his cocaine-trafficking.

Given that Michael had incurred two prior drug-trafficking convictions, he faced a minimum sentence of ten years’ imprisonment, with a maximum potential sentence of life imprisonment, on the drug-related convictions. He faced a statutorily-mandated sentence of five years to life imprisonment for possessing a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking, which sentence must be served consecutively, or following, his sentence for the drug trafficking offenses.

This case arose from efforts by the Grand Rapids Police Department to address a growing drug-trafficking problem in the “Heartside” neighborhood, which surrounds Catholic Central High School. The investigation was a coordinated effort of the Grand Rapids Police Department, Vice Unit, and the federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).

Mr. Gross praised the work of the Grand Rapids Police Department and the DEA, and noted his appreciation for the cooperative approach the two agencies have developed in dealing with the ongoing drug trafficking problem. “I am proud of the dedication, professionalism, and hard work of the entire investigative team, both the Vice officers and the agents from the DEA” he said. Mr. Gross added: “Protecting the community from the scourge of cocaine and other illicit drug trafficking is of paramount importance to the United States Attorney’s Office, particularly when, as was the case here, that drug trafficking is taking place literally within the shadow of a high school.”

The Honorable Robert Holmes Bell, Chief United States District Judge, presided over the sentencing. Michael was remanded to the custody of the United States Marshal to begin serving his sentence.

This case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Phil Green.