DETROIT – A Metro Detroit man connected to a Mexican cartel was sentenced to prison after he allegedly brought 53 pounds of cocaine into the community.
It was a massive bust, as federal officials seized nearly $1 million in cash and $1 million worth of cocaine.
Marvin Jenkins walked out of federal court surrounded by his family. Jenkins, 36, is a father and has worked at Ford Motor Company for 14 years. He had never been in trouble with the law until now.
"He admitted to the agents to moving at least 72 kilos of cocaine into the community in the last three months," Assistant U.S. Prosecutor Andrea Hutting said. "He indicated that he has a direct connection to a Mexican cartel."
Police found more than $750,000 inside a Southfield hotel room rented by Jenkins. Federal officials watched him try to take duffel bags stuffed with cash from his car into the hotel.
Officials followed him in his rental car and pulled him over.
"This gun was on the defendant's person in his front pocket, and loaded," Hutting said. "It was easily accessible to him, which makes sense because he is transporting 24 kilos of cocaine. He is transporting almost $1 million worth of drugs."
The judge called the 24 kilos of cocaine the biggest drug case he's ever seen. Most Metro Detroit residents sided with giving the first-time offender some kind of break.
"If there is a possibility of him being rehabilitated, you know, one of the things I know is so many times people will make decisions that are unfortunate," Detroit resident Ray Johnson said.
"It's a first-time offense," Detroit resident Scott Spag said. "What do you want him to do, life in prison like 'White Boy' Rick (Wershe)?"
Jenkins was caught with three times more cocaine than first-time offender Wershe, who served 30 years in prison.
If convicted, Jenkins could have faced up to life in prison. Instead, he pleaded guilty and prayed for mercy. His attorney asked for house arrest on a tether.
The judge was told Jenkins became depressed when his mother was diagnosed with lung cancer, and when he was approached by a Chicago drug dealer to make "easy money," he made the decision to sell cocaine.
Prosecutors reminded the judge that Jenkins was the person who had Mexican drug connections.
The judge sentenced Jenkins to 13 years behind bars.
Even though prosecutors are concerned that Jenkins is a flight risk, the judge allowed him to stay free on bond and turn himself in to the Bureau of Prisons after the holiday.