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State Briefs

By the Associated Press • Oct 4, 2017 at 9:00 AM

Macomb County pair accused of trafficking woman with disabilities

MACOMB (AP) — A suburban Detroit couple face human trafficking and prostitution charges for hiring out a 29-year-old woman with disabilities for sex while forcing her to live in a shed, police said.

The Macomb County Sheriff's Office said Misty George, 30, and Michael Welch, 38, were arraigned on the charges Tuesday. George also is charged with using computers to commit a crime.

Relatives of the victim, who has mental and physical disabilities, contacted police after she left the Macomb Township mobile home park where the couple lived and learned what had happened to her, according to the Sheriff’s Office. 

George and Welch advertised the victim online and took money from several men who paid for sex with her, police said.

Former police sergeant abused take-back pills, state police say

BURTON (AP) — A former police sergeant in eastern Michigan has admitted to abusing prescription drugs he collected from several area police agencies through pill take-back programs.

Michigan State Police reports obtained by the Flint Journal through a Freedom of Information Act request alleged that former Burton officer Shawn Duncanson approached multiple police agencies and offered to dispose of prescription drugs turned into their departments. Burton police launched an internal investigation in January, and state police began a criminal investigation soon after.

The state police reports say that Duncanson initially told Burton police that he collected the drugs because he intended to start a business. Duncanson later told investigators he took pills collected from the departments and the Burton Senior Center as well as a prescription opiate from evidence for his own personal use.

The reports say he also was able to obtain heroin, crack cocaine, hallucinogenic mushrooms and marijuana from at least one of the police agencies.

Duncanson said he sold or gave away the drugs.

He was suspended without pay in March amid the investigation and resigned in June days before a discipline hearing in front of Burton Police Chief Tom Osterholzer. He hasn't been charged.

The office of Genesee County Prosecutor David Leyton said the issue remains under review.

Fugitive dentist returned to US to face charges, Michigan AG says

LANSING (AP) — Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette said federal marshals have captured a suburban Detroit dentist in the Dominican Republic more than four months after 27 fraud-related counts were filed against him.

Marshals apprehended Dr. David Johnson, 51, of Chesterfield Township last week, and he's currently being held in Miami. Schuette said Johnson has waived extradition and will be returned to Michigan for arraignment in Ingham County.

In May, Schuette charged Johnson with 20 counts of Medicaid fraud, six counts of health care fraud and one count of racketeering. He said Johnson was barred from the Medicaid program following fraud convictions in 2006, but used another dentist's identifying information to improperly bill $1.7 million over three years.

It wasn't clear whether Johnson has an attorney who might speak on his behalf.

Wood chips burn in Michigan, causing big smoke plumes

DEXTER (AP) — Officials said a fire that started in an area being used to store wood chips caused widely visible smoke plumes in southeastern Michigan.

Dexter Area Fire Chief Robert Smith told The Ann Arbor News that the fire department responded on Monday evening after a "massive pile" of wood chips caught fire in a gravel pit. No injuries were reported, but heavy equipment was needed to deal with the blaze.

Smith said the fire isn't expected to spread, but smoke could continue. The cause of the fire wasn't immediately known.

The gravel pit is located about 40 miles east of Detroit.

Ex-GR officer won't be charged for holding gun to man's head

GRAND RAPIDS (AP) — A prosecutor said a Grand Rapids police officer who resigned after holding a gun to the head of a handcuffed robbery suspect won't be charged.

Kent County Prosecutor Chris Becker announced the decision Tuesday in the case involving the former officer. Body camera footage released Monday shows the officer pointing the gun at the man as he was on the ground Aug. 16.

Becker said putting a gun to a suspect's head is "completely inappropriate" and violates protocol, but wasn't a criminal act. Becker said the officer told investigators he felt he had to place the gun near the suspect's head to avoid harming officers if he fired.

The suspect wasn't injured.

The officer was suspended, but he resigned before an internal affairs investigation was complete.

CMS Energy subsidiary buying Lansing-area solar project

DELTA TWP. (AP) — A subsidiary of CMS Energy Corp. is buying a solar power project that's under construction in the Lansing area.

Jackson-based CMS Energy said Tuesday the Delta Solar project in Eaton County's Delta Township will provide enough energy to the Lansing Board of Water & Light to power 3,300 homes. The solar project is expected to be operational by the summer of 2018.

Terms of the deal with CMS Enterprises weren't disclosed.

The project developed by groSolar is located adjacent to the General Motors' Lansing Delta Assembly Plant.

CMS Energy currently has solar power facilities in the state at Western Michigan University and Grand Valley State University.

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