News Release
Date: March 14, 2012
Contact: Rich Isaacson
Number: (313) 234-4310

30 People Arrested for Michigan Methamphetamine Operation
Defendants violated federal law limiting pseudoephedrine purchases

March 15 (Columbus, OH) - Thirty suspects were arrested in Sanilac and St. Clair Counties on March 13 th and March 14 th, for their alleged roles in a methamphetamine operation, announced United States Attorney Barbara McQuade. U.S. Attorney McQuade was joined in the announcement by Special Agent in Charge Robert L. Corso of the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).

In August 2011, a joint investigation was initiated with the St. Clair County Sheriff's Department, which identified individuals conspiring to manufacture methamphetamine. The investigation uncovered a number of subjects who knowingly violated the pseudoephedrine purchase limitations established by state and federal law. Many of the defendants frequently traveled in groups to multiple pharmacies throughout several counties in Michigan to obtain pseudoephedrine and other chemicals/components used in the "One Pot" aka "Shake and Bake" manufacturing method. These items were subsequently provided to a "Meth Cook,” who often paid these subjects for their services with methamphetamine.

On March 13th, 2012, law enforcement officers began the execution of 40 federal arrest warrants and five federal search warrants, obtained by DEA agents, in furtherance of this investigation. This operation involved the co-operative efforts of the DEA, Michigan State Police, St. Clair and Sanilac County Sheriff's Departments, Port Huron Police Department, Child Protective Services, Fire Departments, and the federal and state prosecutor's offices.

According to the complaint, these 40 subjects together made more than 800 purchases of pseudoephedrine products during 2011. Approximately 400 "One Pot" cooks were conducted with these purchases, which would then produce approximately 900 pounds of hazardous waste.

United States Attorney Barbara L. McQuade said, “Law enforcement is using this new law to detect manufacturers of methamphetamine in hopes of curbing the growth of this drug in southeast Michigan. Methamphetamine takes a terrible toll on its abusers and creates hazardous waste as a byproduct.”

DEA Special Agent in Charge Corso stated, “Methamphetamine is a nasty, highly addictive drug that not only wreaks havoc on the user, but also the environment. These "mom and pop" operations, one pot production methods, and the "smurfing" of pseudoephedrine are all attempts to fly under the radar of law enforcement. This investigation shows that DEA and our state and local counterparts are committed to eliminating the abuse and production of methamphetamine by attacking the traffickers at all levels.”

The following individuals have all been charged in criminal complaints with violating a recently enacted federal law designed to stem the growth of clandestine methamphetamine operations:


BRAEKEVELT, Steven Thomas

BRIDGE, Christopher Thomas

FLEURY Jr., Paul David

FLEURY, Sandra Michelle

GROH, Robert Angus

GRUGEL, Sabrina Sue

HENDERSON, Marie Elena

HILLIKER, Paul Phillip

JANSEN, Charlene Billie

LEVITT, Kimberly Ann

LOXTON, Edward Keith

LOXTON Jr., Richard Lee

McCORMICK, John Wesley

McTAGGART, Dale Michael

MERTZ, Henry Jacob

MILLER, James Dale

MILLER, Stephanie Ann

MINOR, Jane Ann

NIVARRE, William

OLVERA, Florence Catherine

OLVERA, Victor Richard

PHILLIPS, Stephen Paul

PRIGMORE, Brittany Nicole

RIOPPELE, Treva Denise

ROBBINS, Joshua Allen

ROSS, James Alan

ROSS Jr., John William

RUSHTON Jr., Craig Allen

SAMPSON, Belinda Kay

SAMPSON, William Gregory

SHOUDY, Joshua David

SMITH, Nicole Lynn

SMITH, Stephen Duane

VANCAMP, Brandon Lee

WARD, Tanesha Marie

WILLIAMS, Kenneth David-Lee

WIRTH, Michael Scott

WIRTH, Todd Christopher

YACQUES, Kevin Edward

Criminal complaints are not findings of guilt. Individuals charged by criminal complaints are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty. All defendants are entitled to a fair trial where the government must prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.