GRAND RAPIDS, MICHIGAN — Two Kalamazoo men face up to life in prison following their guilty pleas to multiple drug and firearms offenses, announced U.S. Attorney Andrew Birge. Trevon Gates (age 21) and Deonte Gates (age 19) were scheduled for trial on July 14, 2020 and instead pled guilty to their charges, which included conspiring to distribute methamphetamine and possessing firearms in furtherance of the methamphetamine conspiracy.
The Gates brothers partnered to sell methamphetamine in Kalamazoo, Holland, Plainwell, and Otsego during 2018 and 2019. The execution of a search warrant at the defendants’ home uncovered guns, money, methamphetamine, and drug packaging material. The investigation revealed that the brothers were constantly armed and even coerced at least one other person to deliver methamphetamine on their behalf or face harm.
“No one should view selling methamphetamine or other addictive drugs on the street as a way to raise one’s station in life,” commented U.S. Attorney Birge. “Taking advantage of addicts is shameful, destroys families and brings communities down. People who not only sell methamphetamine but also use guns to further their efforts pose an enhanced threat to safety in their communities. Our office is committed to investigating and prosecuting those individuals to the full extent of the law.”
Chief Karianne Thomas of the Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety agreed: “The illegal use and distribution of methamphetamine continues to be a scourge in our community and is responsible for driving a large amount of crime. This investigation showed that these two individuals had an extensive involvement in methamphetamine distribution in not just Kalamazoo, but throughout southwest Michigan. Their propensity to employ many different firearms to further their drug trafficking network made them particularly dangerous to the community. This is another excellent example of the outstanding partnership and cooperation between the Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety and our state and federal law enforcement partners to include the Michigan State Police, U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Michigan, U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms (ATF).”
Michigan State Police Lieutenant Andrew Foster of the West Michigan Enforcement Team commented, “We appreciate the work done by the U.S. Attorney’s Office with this investigation. This case brought to justice individuals responsible for trafficking large quantities of crystal methamphetamine into west Michigan. It is just another great example of the partnership WEMET has with our federal law enforcement and local agencies throughout west Michigan.”
Trevon Gates is subject to a mandatory minimum term of 15 years in prison, while Deontae Gates is subject to a mandatory minimum term of 10 years in prison. Both brothers will be sentenced later this year.
This case was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, the Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety, Kalamazoo Valley Enforcement Team, the Holland Police Department, and the West Michigan Enforcement Team.