13 arrested in drug gang bust - WNEM TV 5

13 arrested in drug gang bust

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More than a dozen people are facing federal charges after federal and state agents busted a drug gang in Mid-Michigan.

The gang is accused of trafficking a number of drugs in the area including heroin and cocaine. Overall, 13 people are facing charges.

The FBI is dubbing them the Sunny Side Gang. Investigators said the gang trafficked heroin, cocaine and fentanyl.

The crimes primarily occurred on the south side of Saginaw.

"Everybody knows somebody that's dying of drug overdose," Dr. William Morrone said.

He believes reducing the high demand for drugs is a low priority at the local, state and federal level. Morrone specializes in helping people break free from heroin and opioid addiction.

Morrone was not surprised to hear about the criminal drug conspiracy charges against the 13 suspects. He said the latest arrests are part of a growing heroin epidemic throughout Mid-Michigan.

"I see people walk out of here that say I don't want the counseling and they're dead two weeks later. I see them on the obits," Morrone said.

However, he said getting suspected drug dealers off the streets won't solve the problem. Morrone insists real progress will be made when there are real changes in how the medical community prescribes painkillers to patients.

"We need a revamping of the medical education system to de-emphaize the use of opioids so that people don't get stuck. When people get stuck on opioids and then the insurance cuts them off, they turn to heroin. And that's where we're stuck right now. People going from pills to heroin and back from heroin to pills," Morrone said.

The following have been charged with conspiring to sell crack cocaine, heroin and fentanyl:

  • Damarlin Markeel Beavers, 32
  • Derek Duane Riley, 45
  • Alvin Richard Pratt, 27
  • Brandon Omar Pratt, 32
  • Javon Malik Pratt, 19
  • Michael Allan Pratt Jr., 25
  • Marquise Deshawn Ashworth, 35
  • Eugene Smith III, 28
  • Jeremy Anthony Cameron, 31
  • Terence Jarmar Johnson, 33
  • Lamar Terrel Simon, 26
  • Darreyon Rayquan-Johnell Mayfield, 20
  • Jauane Reggienald Allen, 20

All 13 of the men are residents of Saginaw.

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