U.S. Attorney Andrew Birge announced this week that a federal jury convicted Richard Farmer, Sr., 44, of conspiring to distribute methamphetamine and ecstasy after a four-day trial before the Honorable Robert J. Jonker, Chief United States District Judge. Farmer faces up to thirty years in prison when he is sentenced on October 9.
Farmer was arrested in August 2018 during the multijurisdictional takedown of a methamphetamine ring. Twenty-four defendants have been indicted in related cases as part of the investigation, and sixteen pled guilty before Farmer’s trial.
The proofs at trial established that Farmer was an adviser to the leader of the organization, Raymond Stovall. Over the two months Stovall’s phone was wiretapped in 2018, Farmer told Stovall how to transport money and drugs, sought to invest money in drug packages, helped Stovall look for a missing drug package, travelled to Michigan from his home in greater Atlanta to meet with Stovall, informed Stovall that he was sending ecstasy to Michigan, and plotted to help Stovall obtain additional methamphetamine from a source in Benton Harbor, Farmer’s hometown. Farmer also harbored Antwan Mims – an unindicted co-conspirator convicted of two counts of first-degree murder by a Berrien County jury earlier this year – while he was a fugitive wanted for those homicides. Farmer and Mims were found by an FBI SWAT team in a drug house outside of Atlanta along with a pound of methamphetamine, heroin, other drugs, packaging materials, and a loaded, stolen firearm.
“The jury saw Richard Farmer for the drug dealer the evidence showed he was,” said U.S. Attorney Birge. “The lesson here is that if you choose to get into the business of illegally trafficking these dangerous drugs in West Michigan, law enforcement agencies from far and wide will work together to bring you to justice.”
“This case exemplifies the cooperation among federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies to dismantle dangerous criminal organizations that threaten the safety of our communities,” said Timothy R. Slater, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Detroit Division. “The FBI will continue to target the leadership of these organizations – and those who facilitate their crimes – in order to stop the increase in violence and crime associated with these multi-state drug trafficking organizations.”
“Farmer was part of a drug distribution network spanning from Georgia to Western Michigan,” said Timothy J. Plancon, Special Agent in Charge of the Detroit Field Division of the DEA.
“This successful conviction is a testimony to the dedication and hard work of our federal and local law enforcement partners and the United States Attorney’s Office. We will continue our relentless pursuit to identify and investigate those trafficking illicit narcotics in our communities.”
With respect to the defendants still pending trial, the charges in the indictment are merely accusations and are not evidence of guilt. The defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law. The government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
This case is being investigated by the FBI, the DEA, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the Kalamazoo Valley Enforcement Team, and the Southwest Enforcement Team (a component of the Michigan State Police), who were assisted by the U.S. Marshals Service, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, the Michigan Department of Corrections, the Portage Police Department, the Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety, the Kalamazoo County Sheriff’s Office, the Berrien County Sheriff’s Office, the St. Joseph County Sheriff’s Office, and TSA Investigations – Detroit Field Office. Farmer was tried by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Justin M. Presant and Vito S. Solitro.
This is a press release from the US Department of Justice.