ZEELAND, Mich. (WZZM) — The pipeline of crystal methamphetamine entering West Michigan from California has been plugged following the arrests of a Zeeland couple who had the highly potent drug mailed here inside Teddy bears.
Several pounds of crystal meth – known by the street name “Ice,” was mailed from Stockton, California to the Zeeland Post Office between 2009 and May, 2013, according to federal court documents. One pound of “ice” is the equivalent of about 6,000 hits.
Three Ottawa County residents who received and distributed the narcotic were given lengthy prison terms and two sisters who mailed it from California will be sentenced next month in U.S. District Court in Grand Rapids. They were extradited to Michigan last fall.
Crystal meth was mailed from Stockton to the Zeeland Post Office twice a week for at least two years, according to federal court documents. The parcels were delivered to a double-wide trailer in the Logan Estates mobile home park on Swallow Street in Zeeland.
“Teddy bears? You’d be amazed, people will try everything,” said U.S. Postal Inspector Cecil Frink. Additional arrests are expected, though Frink said he did not know whether they will be in Stockton or West Michigan.
The operation employed numerous “runners,” or people who delivered the crystal meth after it arrived in Zeeland, court documents show.
The investigation began in December, 2012 when an illegal immigrant from Vietnam was arrested for trafficking crystal meth in Holland. The government says he made at least $250,000 in drug sales. He was in sentenced in September to 13 years in prison.
He led police to Eve Olivarez and Rem To, common-law spouses who lived at the Logan Estates mobile home park.
Olivarez told investigators she’d been selling crystal meth for several years, court records show. She was known as “The Legend” because she had been selling ice for so many years without being caught.
Rem To, who moved here from Stockton, maintained ties to the notorious Bloods street gang in Los Angeles, the government said. He was sentenced this week to more than 14 years in prison for drug trafficking. Olivarez last month was sentenced to more than 17 years.
Rem To’s sisters, Sotharee To and RaneeTo, were brought here from Stockton on methamphetamine delivery and conspiracy charges. They were convicted and will be sentenced next month. The sisters were paid more than $18,000 through Money Grams sent from Michigan to California, court records show.