DETROIT — A multi-count federal indictment was unsealed charging nine individuals with crimes relating to the distribution and manufacturing of Benzylpiperazine (BZP), a commonly known form of Ecstasy. The indictment follows an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).
The 17-count indictment alleges that the defendants were involved in a large-scale BZP distribution ring run from May 2013 through April 2014. HSI special agents first became aware of the organization in May 2013, when U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers seized an industrial pill press imported from China after it was found to be fraudulently labeled for shipment. Special agents subsequently conducted a controlled delivery of the press destined for S&B Computers located on Detroit's west side.
During the investigation undercover special agents confirmed that the business was a front for a large scale Ecstasy pill production and distribution organization. The indictment also alleges the defendants were involved in the distribution of heroin. Special agents executed a federal search warrant at S&B last week.
HSI special agents have arrested the following defendants from Detroit:
- Sylvester Boston Sr.
- Sylvester Boston Jr.
- Rodney Reaves
- Nikito Merchant
Authorities are still seeking the whereabouts of the following, all of whom are from Detroit:
- Norman Christopher Ivory
- Sondai Harris
- Raymond Thomas
- Corey Broaden
- William Burt
Anyone with information about their whereabouts is asked to contact HSI Detroit at 313-226-0500.
"As a result of this investigation and enforcement action, we've dismantled an entire drug trafficking network that we allege was responsible for funneling poison into communities in metro Detroit," said Marlon Miller, special agent in charge of HSI Detroit. "The dismantling of drug-trafficking operations has a direct and immediate positive impact on the quality of life here in Detroit."
The indictment charges the defendants with crimes relating to the manufacture and distribution of illegal narcotics. If convicted, several of the defendants face a minimum of five years and up to 40 years in prison, as well as a possible $5,000,000 fine.
The investigation was led by HSI with assistance from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Michigan State Police and the Detroit Police Department.
An indictment is only a charge and is not evidence of guilty. All defendants are presumed innocent unless convicted in court.