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Last defendant sentenced in Battle Creek drug trafficking case

Border Patrol inspect truck carrying medical supplies, make second largest meth bust in agency's history
Posted at 12:23 PM, Jul 14, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-14 12:23:16-04

BATTLE CREEK, Mich. — A final defendant has been sentenced in connection to his role as a regional supplier in an 11-defendant, multistate drug trafficking conspiracy.

Ricardo Mercado-Lozano was sentenced Monday to 292 months in prison, according to a news release Wednesday.

The drug trafficking was led in Michigan by co-defendant Andrew Bravo of Battle Creek.

Bravo’s drug trafficking organization distributed kilograms of cocaine and crystal meth, as well as quantities of heroin, fentanyl, ecstasy and marijuana, in and around Battle Creek and Kalamazoo between May 2017 and December 2019, U.S. Attorney Andrew Birge said.

Bravo pleaded guilty to the drug trafficking conspiracy on June 4, 2020 and was sentenced to 264 months in prison on Oct. 5, 2020.

Mercado-Lozano, a self-admitted associate of the Sinaloa cartel, was a regional supplier of kilograms of cocaine and quantities of crystal meth to Bravo, who further distributed the controlled substances to other individuals in the area.

In addition to supplying Bravo in Battle Creek, Mercado also supplied drug traffickers around Louisville, Kentucky.

Investigators stopped a vehicle on Dec. 17, 2018 that was carrying about seven pounds of meth after leaving Mercado-Lozano's home in Kentucky.

Back in 2015, Mercado-Lozano was deported to Mexico after a five-year prison sentence on a felony kidnapping conviction out Riverside County in California.

“These convictions and sentences are the result of a long-term, multi-agency investigation into the drug trafficking of Andrew Bravo and his co-conspirators, who distributed cocaine, crystal meth, heroin, fentanyl and marijuana, among other controlled substances, into the Battle Creek and Kalamazoo communities for years. The U.S. attorney’s office is committed to bringing traffickers of dangerous drugs to justice no matter how long it takes. Our local communities are now safer with these individuals off the streets.”

Homeland Security investigators and the Battle Creek Police Department began the investigation into Bravo’s drug trafficking organization in mid-2017, in partnership with several other law enforcement agencies.