TRAVERSE CITY — A suspected drug dealer faces years in prison on a guilty plea after sheriff’s deputies found methamphetamine in his hotel room packaged and ready for delivery.

The investigation started simply enough — Grand Traverse County sheriff’s deputies pulled over a car 37-year-old Justin Thomas Maguire drove on U.S. 31 after noticing the expired license plate Nov, 13. His passenger and owner of the car, Nicole Lyn Froncek, 31, led deputies to the hotel room — deputies would find drugs, she said, according to police reports.

Froncek was right. Deputies secured a warrant to search the Econo Lodge hotel room on M-37, finding 17 packages of suspected meth, a bag of heroin, another package of meth, plastic bags, and digital scales.

Prosecutors initially filed delivering or manufacturing meth and maintaining a drug house charges. He accepted a deal from prosecutors Feb. 20, pleading guilty to meth possession — the remaining charges will be dropped at sentencing March 21.

Grand Traverse County Prosecutor Noelle Moeggenberg said they offered the plea after finding multiple people involved in the case, including Froncek, who deputies previously suspected was a drug dealer.

Froncek also faced drug charges, but prosecutors dismissed her case after she cooperated with law enforcement during the investigation, Moeggenberg said.

She led deputies to the hotel room where they found the meth inside a Tupperware container stored with men’s clothing and toiletries inside a small red suitcase. Each meth package was numbered with a dollar amount written in pencil.

A detective asked Maguire to write his phone number down and noticed similarities between his writing and the writing on the meth packages — several digits were identical, including the zeroes that featured a “swooping motion” at the top. Detectives pointed out the similarities to Maguire who eventually confessed, according to police reports.

He told deputies he began making trips in December to Grand Rapids where he picked up cocaine and heroin. Maguire kept the heroin for his own use and sold the cocaine, according to reports.

Maguire said he did not use or sell meth until someone stole his drugs once in the Grand Rapids area. He was forced to sell meth to make up the debt to his supplier.

Investigators additionally found multiple syringes that appeared to be used and spoons in the hotel room.

Moeggenberg does not expect to file any further charges against Maguire, Froncek or any other suspects in this case, she said.

Staff writer