BY MATT TROUTMAN
— GRAND RAPIDS — A Traverse Narcotics Team drug bust in Grand Traverse County prompted a four-year investigation resulting in lengthy prison sentences for three Grand Rapids drug dealers in federal court.
Michigan State Police Lt. Patrick Boyd today announced the conclusion of the case that authorities said shut down a major supply of cocaine and heroin in northwest Michigan. Jerry Dale Boss, 30, and Marcus Delane Zolicoffer, 48, were found guilty of conspiracy to distribute narcotics and sentenced to 10- and 20-year sentences, respectively.
TNT Sgt. Randy Graham said Boss and Zolicoffer are two examples of “higher-level” downstate dealers who come to northern Michigan to sell drugs at higher prices.
“These folks were pretty prolific in crack cocaine and heroin,” Graham said. “They were literally dealing in kilos.”
A third Grand Rapids man who dealt drugs in Grand Traverse County and northern Michigan, Xavier Lamonte Libbett, 45, was identified during the case and sentenced to 18 years and four months for conspiracy to distribute cocaine and heroin.
Graham said the case started with a February 2009 drug bust at a Garfield Township residence where officers found crack cocaine.
Five people in the residence were charged and convicted in Grand Traverse County for drug-related offenses, but Boss and Zolicoffer were never charged locally because no drugs were found on the suspects.
“It was noted that there was insufficient evidence to charge,” Graham said.
Authorities took the case to federal court and issued grand jury subpoenas over the course of three years.
Graham said Libbett was identified during grand jury testimony in the case as both a competitor and supplier to Boss and Zolicoffer. He said Libbett was also a suspect but never charged in a Grand Traverse County organized prostitution case.
The case ended quietly in June with Zolicoffer’s conviction, but TNT officers didn’t want its conclusion to go unnoticed by the public. Graham said a string of heroin overdoses in Traverse City this weekend shows other drug dealers filled the vacuum left by the three dealers now serving sentences in federal prison.
“You may not see things that are happening, but things are happening,” he said of drug investigations.