Kalamazoo man sentenced for his role in crystal meth ring

Posted at 12:18 PM, Sep 26, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-26 12:18:30-04

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – A Kalamazoo man was sentenced to 235 months in federal prison for his role in a methamphetamine trafficking ring in southwest Michigan.

Michael Neeley, 39, was the last of nine people charged in 2017 with conspiracy to distribute and to possess methamphetamine and other drug and firearms charges.  Neeley was the only one of the ring to go to trial. He was convicted on May 17.

U.S. District Judge Janet Neff had already sentenced the others in the ring:

  • Noel Saldana, Hartford, MI – 210 months
  • Jesus Ramirez-Luna, Phoenix, AZ – 121 months
  • Thomas Cowley, Kalamazoo, MI – 136 months
  • Sheryl Ayad, Kalamazoo, MI – One day time served, plus two years of weekend confinement
  • Thomas Cowley, Jr., Kalamazoo, MI – 120 months
  • Justin Smith, Watervliet, MI – 120 months
  • Robert Nichols, Kalamazoo, MI – 36 months
  • David Strickler, Galesburg, MI – 12 months and one day

The U.S. Attorney says that Saldana was the conspiracy leader, and that he and Cowley met with Ramirez-Luna, who then supplied the methamphetamine to be distributed in Michigan.  Neeley received a longer sentence due to an extensive criminal history, possessing a firearm and committing perjury while testifying in his own defense.

Eight of the nine were arrested in December 2017 when federal agents executed search warrants at eight different locations. Throughout the investigation, they say they intercepted more than 11 pounds of crystal meth from the mail.